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Meet the Aberdeen-mad grandad who bought the Gothenburg Great hare for £15k – and plans to keep it in his garden

Jim Geddie was delighted to support Clan's charity auction - and hasn't ruled out the hare's return to Pittodrie.

Gothenburg Great hare outside Pittodrie Stadium in Aberdeen
The Gothenburg Great hare was outside Pittodrie for the duration of The Big Hop Trail. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson.

Being a lifelong Dons fan is just one of the reasons Jim Geddie donated thousands of pounds to bring home a special sculpture inspired by the club.

The north-east businessman’s £15,000 bid for The Gothenburg Great at The Big Hop Trail auction on Monday night was also a way for him to support local cancer charity Clan and a family friend.

The Aberdeen FC-inspired hare sculpture has been in place outside Pittodrie and viewed by thousands of people.

Headshot of north-east businessman Jim Geddie
Jim Geddie and his wife, Angela Geddie, have donated £15,000 to Clan through its Big Hop Trail auction. Image: Darrell Benns/DC Thomson.

Now it has been purchased by Mr Geddie, and his wife, Angela, who run oilfield services firm Apex Tubulars.

Mr Geddie told The P&J he plans to display the sculpture outside his Aberdeenshire home – and didn’t rule out the hare’s return to the Dons stadium.

Gothenburg Great hare sold at auction

The couple were following Monday night’s auction from home and submitted their bid online with the help of their granddaughter, Amari.

The seven-year-old fully embraced the spirit of the auction and kept insisting they push the bid higher.

The Gothenburg Great and Mr Greenglass, designed by Shelagh Swanson, both pulled in the highest bids of the night – raising £15,000 each for the charity.

Their donations helped boost the total raised to an incredible £202,600.

Lesley D McKenzie and her Big Hop Trail sculpture outside Pittodrie
Lesley D. McKenzie designed a sculpture inspired by Aberdeen FC’s victory at Gothenburg in 1983. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson.

He said: “There were three things which made us bid in the auction – the connection with Aberdeen FC, being able to support Clan, and also, supporting our friend, Lesley, who designed the hare.

“Her design and craftmanship is excellent.

“We’re both glad to support Clan as well. Their work and our support has been ongoing for years. It’s a really good local cause.

“That is the main reason for the donation.”

History with Aberdeen FC

Jim Geddie and Russell Anderson holding a trophy at Pittodrie
Jim Geddie, of Apex Tubulars, pictured with former Dons captain Russell Anderson following his testimonial match in 2006. Image: DC Thomson.

The striking sculpture was designed by Blackburn-based artist, and friend of the Geddie family, Lesley D McKenzie, who was inspired by her own memories of the Gothenburg victory for the design.

When it is first delivered to its new owners it will be put in pride of place outside their home.

However, the businessman is open to planning a move to a more public location in the future – and has even touted a potential return to Pittodrie so more fans can see the hare in all its glory.

Mr Geddie is a lifelong fan of the Dons and fondly remembers the team taking home the European Cup from Gothenburg in 1983.

His company, Apex Tubulars, was also the Aberdeen FC shirt sponsor for two seasons between 2006 and 2008.

He said the hare sculpture was made even more special when the signatures of four of the Gothenburg Greats were added.

Neil Simpson with the Great Gothenburg hare.
Former Aberdeen FC player Neil Simpson put his name to the hare. Image: Kami Thomson/DC Thomson

Legends Willie Miller, Neil Simpson, John Hewitt and Jim Leighton added their signatures on Friday ahead of the auction.

“That was a really nice touch,” he added.

Thousands of people took part in the Big Hop Trail over the summer travelling across Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Moray, Shetland and Orkney to “collect” hares through the dedicated app.

People were also able to vote for their favourite designs with the Gothenburg Great coming in at third place out of a total of 40 hares.

Fiona Fernie, chief executive of Clan, said: “We are beyond grateful to Jim for his extremely generous bid of £15,000 for The Gothenburg Great.

“The design symbolises the historic game in 1983, which was also a very special year for Clan as it’s when the charity was founded.

“The sculpture was an incredibly popular hare on our trail with many making the trip to Pittodrie to take a picture.

“We’re delighted to see the hare rehomed with a lifelong Dons fan and would like to thank Jim once again for his support.”