Author: Ian Mackay
Craig Gowans Memorial Day at Saughton Enclosure was THE event of the year for me and, I suspect, for all those who were at the venue to support the Gowans family. This once-a-year special event in memory of a wonderful young man who died at the tender age of 17 years in tragic accident at the training ground of Falkirk FC.
CraigÔÇÖs mum, Sheila, dad John, sister Lyndsay and brothers Dean and Darren were at the Enclsoure to welcome everyone and what a day they had arranged in conjunction with Hutchison Vale to make this event something very special indeed.
As I grow older, I have developed a great feeling of ÔÇścaringÔÇÖ for others. The Gowns family, for instance, are totally inspirational and they have shown me great kindness and understanding along the way. Exceptional, in fact! But the love and devotion the family have for their dearly loved and sadly missed son and brother is beyond compare.
The family have devoted their lives to keeping ÔÇśaliveÔÇÖ CraigÔÇÖs name through the Memorial Fund in his name. This is done through the Sick Kids Foundation and the work to provide specially adapted vehicles that are used to take disabled young patients out of trips - to Saughton Enclosure for example.
The place was ÔÇśthrobbingÔÇÖ with excitement with the highlight in a football sense, the game of the day between a Hearts/Hibs Select against a team wearing the Hutchison Vale colours.
Les Trotter raised more money for the Fund by putting ÔÇślife and limbÔÇÖ at risk when making a cameo appearance during the game. Compere, Grant Stott hd a field day at his expense! Les did not even get a touch of the ball in the short time he was on the pitch and when he rugby tackled the one and only Henry Smith, referee Kenny Clark showed the ÔÇśbigÔÇÖ Hutchison Vale Local Hero a straight red card!
It was a hilarious moment at Saughton Enclosure. I was just a wee bit surprised the ambulance was not used to take Les back to the sidelines and what a time Grant Stott had, quoting ÔÇśrule and verseÔÇÖ from a mythical SFA handbook why Les was sent off. Something to do with straining the Vale jersey, shorts and socks beyond the limit on Les' ample frame!
Goals, one a classic header from Hibee legend, Keith Wright and another from former Hibee Graham Love, clinched a 2-0 win for the goal-den oldies from the two Capital clubs. Other former professional players to take part included John Hughes, John Robertson, Darren Jackson (who is part of the committee who organised the event), Dave Bowman, a very fit looking Gareth Evans, Jimmy Sanderson and Graham Love. There were others including SandersonÔÇÖs son and also the young son of Darren Jackson. But I think it will be the sight of Les Trotter being red carded that will remain foremost in the memories of all those packed around the sidelines!
Highlight of the day for me was at half-time when John Hughes and John Robertson made their way to speak to the disabled young patients in their buggies in the centre of the pitch. The rest of the Hearts/Hibs Select quickly joined the two legends of the game and there is a picture/pictures of the players (pictured, left) with the beautiful children, care nurse Maureen Theurer and other nurses. That was a beautiful moment for me and the Gowans family. It made my day at Saughton Enclosure really special.
It may be my age, but as I grow older I feel drawn more and more to families who mourn the loss of someone special. I have such a high regard for the Gowans family and also for other friends I have in football and other walks of life. I record here, words from the Gowans family published in the excellent programme that will be another valuable keepsake of this wonderful day for me to treasure:
ÔÇťThe loss of Craig is still extremely difficult for us to bear, but by using his memory as motivation for good, CraigÔÇÖs legacy lives on for ever!ÔÇŁ AMEN! (So let it be!)