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Hundreds line the streets to pay tribute to tragic conductor in ‘sombre day for Scotland’s railway’

Residents lined the streets to pay a poignant farewell to Donald Dinnie, right
Residents lined the streets to pay a poignant farewell to Donald Dinnie, right

An Aberdeenshire community came to a standstill today as the funeral cortege of tragic rail conductor Donald Dinnie passed through the town.

The 58-year-old died in the Stonehaven derailment on August 12, alongside driver Brett McCullough and passenger Christopher Stuchbury.

Mr Dinnie’s funeral was held in private but his family had invited anyone wishing to pay their last respects to watch as the funeral cortege passed through Westhill.

Since the tragedy, tributes from across Scotland have poured in for the conductor described as a “jolly” and “friendly” face on many peoples’ commutes.

And by 1pm, hundreds had lined the streets between Hay’s Way and Old Skene Road to say a final farewell.

Rather than everyone being clad in traditional black, blue Scotrail jumpers, jackets and uniforms all stood out as the country’s “railway family” turned out in full force to pay tribute to the beloved colleague.

Neighbours, friends and other members of the Westhill community also took the time to attend.

As the funeral procession approached Hay’s Way, a lone bagpiper began to play Flowers of the Forest – a Scottish folk tune  popular at Remembrance Sunday events – and silence fell among the crowd.

When the vehicles passed Westhill Swimming Pool a Scotrail staff member began to clap his hands – leading to loud applause breaking out.

Alex Hynes, managing director of ScotRail, was also in attendance alongside other senior members of the organisation.

In a statement released afterwards, Mr Hynes said: “Today is a very sombre day for Scotland’s railway as we mourn the passing of our friend and colleague Donald.

“Our hearts will remain broken for a long time to come, but together with the railway family we will provide support and comfort for everyone touched by the tragedy.”

Donald Dinnie

The family of Mr Dinnie had requested that, instead of sending flowers, people make donations to Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA).

The helicopter was present on August 12 and Mr Dinnie also had a monthly direct debit to help keep it going.

The charity posted on a fundraising page set up by his family online, paying tribute to Mr Dinnie.

The message said: “Please accept the sincerest condolences of everyone here at Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance.

“Your father was a valued supporter of our work and we greatly appreciate your support at this time.”

To donate to the fundraiser, people should search for “In Memory of Donald Dinnie for Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance” on Facebook.

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