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‘One of the last Elgin legends’: Outpouring of tributes at death of Jimmy McLean

Jimmy McLean was one of Elgin's favourite sons. Photo: DCT Media
Jimmy McLean was one of Elgin's favourite sons. Photo: DCT Media

Jimmy McLean, who was one of Elgin’s most popular, celebrated and loved locals, has died at the age of 71.

The diehard Elgin City and Aberdeen fan was taken into the hearts of the community as a friend to many.

For years he was a fixture on the High Street, either while selling papers from his small green hut or striking up a conversation with anyone and everyone he met.

Often he would go pub to pub selling copies of the Green Final to punters eager to read the latest sports news, regularly stopping to blether along the way.

Jimmy McLean in his younger days selling papers on Elgin High Street.

His birthday parties attracted huge gatherings with Jimmy, on occasion, taking to the stage to sing the Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen and other north-east favourites.

However, he was perhaps best known on the terraces of Borough Briggs, home of Elgin City, where he cheered the team on for more than 60 years – often clutching a radio to his ear to keep abreast of scores from elsewhere.

Despite his advancing years, friends still made the effort to take him to the football where he spent the match chatting to supporters.

Cars toot on final trip round Elgin

Jimmy, who lived in Elgin his whole life, spent his final years at Anderson’s care home and always retained his sense of fun and his love of blethering.

Friends took the community stalwart on a trip down memory lane earlier this month to visit his former haunts and surprise some old pals.

And the visits caused a stir on the streets with many tooting their horns as they drove past with some stopping to share stories about old times.

The community champion was also a supporter of charity, using his 70th birthday last year to raise about £2,000 for the Moray branch of Friends of Chernobyl.

Elgin City players made a special trip to visit Jimmy McLean at Anderson’s care home in June 2016. Photo: DCT Media

Lorna Whyte, who knew Jimmy for 60 years, visited him at Anderson’s when Covid restrictions allowed and ensured he kept up to date with the latest gossip with video calls.

Regular social media posts on the Elgin – Past to Present page cheered people across the world with his smile.

Mrs Whyte revealed that since his death on Sunday she had received 2,000 messages from Elgin ex-pats across the globe, including in the US, Australia, Paraguay, Dubai and Thailand.

She said: “You can’t speak about Jimmy without smiling, there isn’t a bad word anybody could say about him.

“When you grow up in a community of council houses nobody is better than anybody, you just knock on your neighbour’s door.

Jimmy McLean during a celebration for the Queen’s 90th birthday at Anderson’s in 2016.

“Jimmy could knock on anybody’s door and folk would be happy to see him. He’s the only Aberdeen fan I know who could get on the Rangers or Celtic supporters buses for games at Pittodrie – that was just Jimmy.

“He just warmed everybody’s heart, everyone cared about him.”

‘There was something special about him’

Anderson’s care home manager Kathy McGrath-Gunn praised hospital staff in Aberdeen for ensuring Jimmy could return to Elgin for his final days.

She said: “Anderson’s was really privileged that he came here to stay with us in his later years.

Jimmy McLean was an Elgin City supporter for more than 60 years.

“He was great fun and I think he really really enjoyed it here. There was something special about him without him even trying. He was one of the last legends of Elgin.”

Elgin City FC also paid tribute to the avid supporter on social media.

A Facebook post said: “All at Elgin City are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Jimmy McLean.

“A lifelong City fan, he was a fantastic character and will be missed by all at Borough Briggs.”

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