Zak Gilmour won for his grandad and raised funds too

A Kirkintilloch man has paid tribute to the care his grandad received from Strathcarron Hospice, while raising money in his memory.

Ian Clark Gilmour died, aged just 68, on August 6, 2016, and grandson Zak was determined to do something in his memory.

So Zak organised a bonus ball raffle...with a pretty unique prize.

The winner would get the space to advertise on the driver’s side of his stock car for the 2017 racing season.

It is a prize that Ian would no doubt have very much approved of.

For he and Zak both shared the Gilmour family love of stock car racing.

That began way back in the 1960s when Ian and his brothers Donald and Robert began competing against each other – and everybody else too!

The tradition was passed down to Ian’s son, Scott, who also lives in Kirkintilloch, as soon as he was old enough to drive mini stocks – at the ripe old age of 12.

Scott went on to have great success, adding to the family’s very impressive haul of trophies.

And when Scott’s son Zak reached the same milestone, the mantle was passed to him to continue the family tradition.

Now aged 19, Zak has been racing for the past seven years.

“Zak has won a lot of trophies, as Scott did before him,” said his grandmother, Ian’s wife Christine.

“But Zak hadn’t won anything for a while.

“He was visiting his grandad in hospital one Friday night and told him he was racing the next day.

“Ian asked him to win the race for him, so he was determined to win – and he did!

“And on the way home – although it was extremely late in the evening – Zak insisted on taking the trophy in to Strathcarron Hospice to let his grandad see that he had won.

“Ian died the following morning and the trophy was put into his coffin.

“We are sure that it will be his pride and joy on the other side.”

The bonus ball raffle raised £900 for Strathcarron Hospice and the family were particularly pleased when the winner was drawn.

For the space on the side of Zak’s stock car was won by close family friend Brian Scott from Kirkintilloch who, at the age of 41, has been battling his own illness for the last year – also cancer.

Christine said: “Brian obviously still has his sense of humour as he chose to have Chisel Chin Motor Sport written on the side of the car – referring to his big chin!

“It was lovely that he won though as he is a good friend of Scott’s.”

Ian set up his business, Ian Gilmour Transport Ltd, which is based in Kilsyth, when he was in his 50s, after he was made redundant by Scottish Opera.

He used the money to invest in a lorry and began the company which specialises in moving scenery.

With his contacts, he soon had an impressive list of clients including Scottish Opera, the National Theatre of Scotland and the Edinburgh Festival.

The company has continued to grow, adding more lorries, and now also has space in its Burnside Industrial Estate base to store scenery and props for shows which go on tour.

The family business is now run by Scott (41) and Zak.

“Ian died in August and in September Zak passed his Class 1 test so he could start driving,” said Christine.

As a close family, working together and enjoying stock car racing whenever possible, Zak saw exactly how much the care staff at the Denny hospice gave his grandad meant to him.

Added Christine: “Ian was a big man but he lost a massive amount of weight through the cancer and he was in a great deal of pain by the end.

“Ian spent his last days being cared for by the staff of Strathcarron Hospice and they were absolutely amazing.

“The family cannot thank the staff enough for the care they provided.

“Ian was only there for ten days before he died but it made a world of difference.

“In fact, our grand-daughter, Georgia, was so impressed with what she saw at the hospice that she actually gave up her job as a hairdresser to become a carer.

“She now works in a nursing home for people with dementia.

“Zak decided himself he wanted to do this fundraiser and we know Ian would have been very proud of him.

“Our family will continue to help raise funds so that other families receive the comfort that both Ian and our family received during his final days.”

Funding for Strathcarron

Strathcarron Hospice in Fankerton employs nearly 200 people and the services it provides cost more then £6.5 million each year.

Around 38 per cent of its running costs are funded by the NHS – more than £550,000 comes from NHS Lanarkshire while nearly £2 million comes from NHS Forth Valley.

The rest comes from fundraising, with the hospice relying on the extraordinary generosity of the individuals and communities it serves.

Every day of the year Strathcarron Hospice needs to raise more than £11,000 just to keep its existing services running.

As well as fundraisers, its charity shops across the central belt bring in much needed funds.