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Funeral of former Dons star Chic McLelland held in Aberdeen

Friends and former colleagues paid their respects to Chic.
Friends and former colleagues paid their respects to Chic.

Mourners held aloft huge banners outside Pittodrie as the funeral procession for a Dons legend made its way past the ground today.

Chic McLelland was a player for Aberdeen FC before honing the skills of generations of youngsters as a coach.

He died following a long battle with dementia, and later Covid, last month at the age of 67.

Friends, former players and fans braved the blustery conditions to pay their respects as the right-back was led around the ground one last time today.

Colours from both Aberdeen FC and Montrose FC, where the Glasgow-born player had served extended spells during the 70s and 80s, were held in the air.

And a slow clap from those in attendance pierced the silence as the hearse passed.

Due to coronavirus restrictions only 20 people were allowed to attend the funeral.

Chic McLelland’s funeral passes Pittodrie Stadium as people come to pay respect.

Family members made special arrangements for the hearse to pass the Richard Donald stand at Pittodrie for well-wishers to say their goodbyes, before carrying on its journey to Aberdeen Crematorium.

The footballer’s daughter, Natalie McLelland, said family members were among those who braved the chill to say a final goodbye outside the stadium.

She said: “My partner and my two sons went down to Pittodrie because we couldn’t have many people at the funeral itself. It was lovely to see so many people there and all the flags.

“Dad was lucky because he had a long career with Aberdeen, and it’s so nice that people wanted to come and remember him.

“I hope he realised when he was alive how much good he did and how much he was recognised for it.

“I think he did know – but if he didn’t, he certainly does now.”

His family are now asking anyone who wants to pay tribute to him to do so by making a donation to the Forget Me Not Club in Banchory, which supported him after he was diagnosed with dementia.

Fans of Chic paid their respects outside the stadium 

Miss McLelland said: “He loved it there and they loved him too.

“They run entirely off donations and it is such an important service for people like dad.

“They have helped so many people, not just us but other families like ours – especially where someone has dementia at quite a young age.

“Dad would have wanted to support them.”

Outside football, the long-serving defender was a devoted father and grandfather to his daughters Natalie, 44, and Gemma, 40, and his grandchildren Jay, 11, Cole and Emmy, both eight.

Moving to the Granite City at the age of 14 to join the team’s youth programme, he moved from his origins as a forward to become one of the side’s most celebrated defenders. He turned out for the Dons more than 150 times.

He later moved on to have spells at Motherwell, Dundee and Montrose, spending a season as manager of the latter side.

Barry O’Neill, director at Montrose FC, was among those who solemnly watched as the hearse passed Pittodrie today.

He said: “This was a fitting send-off for a legend of both clubs.

“When I was growing up, Chic was one of my favourite players. It was great to have been able to watch him play.

“It’s nice that so many people were able to turn up and pay their respects to a player that was so important to both Aberdeen FC and Montrose FC.”

Returning to Pittodrie in the 1990s, he was widely cited as a major driving force behind Aberdeen’s youth development programme.

One of the youngsters to come through the youth team while Mr McLelland was a coach, Cove Rangers midfielder Frazer Fyvie, was also in attendance.

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