On Friday afternoons, Christopher Stuchbury liked to bring a smile to people in need.
Armed with a coffee and a cake, he would wheel his tea trolley along the corridors of Roxburghe House in Aberdeen and stop for a chat with patients approaching the end of their life.
That the 62-year-old spent nine years volunteering at the NHS Grampian palliative care centre was typical of his compassion, loved ones said.
They were left devastated when Christopher died in the Stonehaven rail crash.
On the morning of the derailment, he had boarded the train as a passenger.
He was on his way to Fife, where he planned to do one of his final shifts as a tugboat master at Targe Towing Team. He had worked there for 24 years.
But he suffered severe injuries during the derailment and paramedics were unable to save him.
‘Chris really was a man much loved by all who knew him’
Christopher grew up in Burghead and suffered a childhood tragedy when his father John died when he was young.
That meant his mother Molly raised him and his sister Fiona alone.
John was in the Royal Navy stationed at Lossiemouth.
Christopher attended Lossiemouth High School before enrolling in a nautical studies course at Glasgow College.
He later married Helen and the couple lived in Blairgowrie with their children Neil and Faye.
He then returned to Aberdeen more than a decade ago, after Helen died suddenly in 2006.
Five years later, Christopher decided to give up his spare time to help people suffering from serious illness at Roxburghe House.
In a statement released following the derailment, his family said they were devastated by Christopher’s death.
They added: “Chris was a much-adored husband, son, dad, stepdad, grandad, brother and uncle and was a treasured and loved friend to many, including the Targe Towing Team where he was an integral and valued member of staff.
“He also volunteered at Roxburghe House in Aberdeen during his spare time, which he thoroughly enjoyed doing.”
Mandy Urquhart, who manages volunteers at Roxburgh House, said: “Chris really was a man much loved by all who knew him.
“He was incredibly caring, fun-loving, genuine and kind.
“His compassion and understanding brought him through the doors of Roxburghe House nine years ago, to help others at their time of need.
“Since then he has become a familiar, and regular, face on the ward with his tea trolley and in our coffee bar.
“He brought comfort and a welcome distraction to patients, their families, our staff and volunteers in so many ways.
“We were absolutely privileged to work alongside him and will remember him with a smile and of the stories and the laughter we shared on so many Fridays.
“Our deepest sympathy and sincere condolences are with his family, friends and colleagues at this incredibly difficult time.”
‘He was a nice, nice man’
Christopher followed in his father’s footsteps by playing for Buckie Cricket Club.
He also played for Meigle and Blairgowrie cricket clubs and qualified as an umpire with East of Scotland Cricket Officials in 2019.
The Stuchbury family left such an impression at Buckie Cricket Club that its annual player of the year is awarded the John Stuchbury Trophy, which was donated by his widow, Molly.
Former Buckie Cricket Club player Bill Flett said: “Chris was a really nice young lad, just a normal young man, neither shy or flamboyant, very well brought up as you’d expect for a child of a Forces family.
“The thoughts of us all at Buckie Cricket Club are with Chris’s family at the saddest of times.”
His home town of Burghead came to a standstill exactly a week after the derailment when people lined the streets to join a two-minute silence.
Billy Davidson, chairman of Burghead and Cummingston Community Council said: “It’s quite sad really. What had happened is horrendous.
“He was a very nice fellow, he really was. He was a nice, nice man.”