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Daughter’s tribute to Banks O’ Dee FC stalwart Tom Ewan, 75

Tom Ewan.

For three decades there hasn’t been a Banks O’ Dee Football Club without Tom Ewan.

The 75-year-old Fittie-born football fan went from weekend supporter to club physio then secretary, and everything else in between.

This week as friends and family prepare to say a final farewell to the man described as quiet off the pitch but loud and passionate when he was anywhere near it, we look back on the Aberdeen club stalwart’s life.

Early days

Born on February 9, 1946 Tom was the only child of Thomas and Margaret Ewan of Cotton Street, Footdee.

His father was a painter and decorator and his mum was a prolific writer – often penning her thoughts and poems for The Press and Journal.

He attended St Clements Primary School then Aberdeen Academy.

Tom Ewan of Banks O’ Dee FC.

Tom was very academic and would achieve good grades in all his subjects which helped earn him an engineering apprenticeship with Barry, Henry and Cook when he left school.

He stayed with the company working from its various depots across the UK, including north-east England, before joining the merchant navy.

Finding love

Letters between him and his parents document that in 1970 he met Thelma Thompson at the dancing in Aberdeen.

He began a new career in the offshore oil industry around the same time, before marrying Thelma in 1971.

Always well dressed it was a standing joke between Thelma’s father and brother that whenever Tommy could come to the house to collect Thelma he’d be wearing one particular thing each time.

“‘Have you seen Tommy’s fawn socks?’ my Granda would say. Always the same pair – obviously trying his best to impress my mum, but it gave them a laugh,” said Lorraine Finn, Tom’s daughter.

The young couple married in St Ninian’s Church on King Street in August 1971 and they lived with Thelma’s family on Seaforth Road for a year.

Good times and bad

Lorraine came along in 1974 and the family moved into their first home as a family, on Heathryfold Circle a year later.

Tom began working for oil company Schlumberger while Thelma looked after Lorraine, later working as a secretary and PA for Bluebird Buses on Guild Street.

Sadly, tragedy would strike the family.

In 1990 just one month after Tom lost his mother, when Lorraine was just 15, Thelma passed away.

Tom is pictured kneeling first on the left, with Banks O’ Dee FC.

Lorraine said: “It was a hugely difficult time for us but as an adult looking back now, it must have been horrendous for my dad.

“He’d already lost his dad, then my mum and his mum within a month. Going back to break up the house and dealing with so much grief couldn’t have been easy.

“But it was around then when he started getting more involved with the football club.”

Banks O’ Dee FC

By the late 1970s, Tom’s parents had moved to Pentland Crescent, Torry.

He and his father enjoyed the odd Saturday visit to watch Banks O’ Dee in action and a drink on a Sunday in the social club.

Over time he became a firm fixture helping out in whatever capacity he could.

Securing the appropriate qualifications, he became the team physio, a club scout and latterly was club secretary.

Billy Forbes and Tommy Ewan, right, from Banks O’ Dee FC.

“My dad was Mr Banks O’ Dee. I’ve got great memories of him running on to the pitch with his wee physio bag, much to the consternation of the referees sometimes.

“He was just happy to do whatever was needed, and he loved it. Every minute of it.”

However, Lorraine said watching his beloved club brought out another side to his personality.

“Most of the time my dad was this really quiet, very astute, highly intelligent, unassuming man. Until he got anywhere near the side of the pitch. Then he just erupted.

“It always made me laugh to see how passionate he got about football.”

New loves

In 1992 Tom found a second chance at love with Aberdonian Marlene Chambers.

Marlene, who had three grown-up children of her own, Nikki, Scott and Tracey, became his constant companion.

In 1995 Tom was made redundant although continued to do consultancy work and in 2006 he and Marlene married in Aberdeen Registry Office.

Over the years they loved to spend time together especially at their caravan at Seaton in Arbroath.

Becoming a grandfather

But it wasn’t just Marlene who put a spring back in his step.

“When we had our son my dad was just so proud,” Lorraine said.

Tom with grandson and namesake, Ewan.

“He loved spending time with him – especially as he loved football too.

“But my dad was especially proud that we named him Ewan, to keep the family name alive.

“It meant a lot to me to know we had made my dad happy in that way. It still does.”

Well turned out

Tom and Marlene were known for being immaculate dressed.

But there was one outfit Tom loved more than most.

Lorraine explained: “Aside from his gardening clothes my dad was always very well turned out.

Tom and Marlene Ewan at Tom’s daughter Lorraine’s wedding.

“He loved a kilt, loved to be smart and in later years when he wasn’t doing the more physical roles at the club you would always see him in his Banks O’ Dee suit and tie.”

And at his funeral on January 20, Tom will be laid to rest in his club attire.

Cancer diagnosis

In June last year Tom was diagnosed with lung cancer.

While he began immunotherapy it became clear managing the symptoms would be the best way forward.

In mid December Tom moved from North Anderson Drive into Riverside Care Home and passed away just one month later.

Tom Ewan is shown second from right with the team and Aberdeen club that meant so much to him.

The lifelong member of the RAFA club on Bon Accord Square and the RUA Club will be celebrated in the West Chapel Crematorium before a funeral tea will be held at Nigg Bay Golf Club where he and his friend Arthur liked to meet ‘for a lemonade.’

Tom is survived by Lorraine, her husband Simon and son Ewan, Marlene and her family, brother-in-law Bryan and his wife Lena, and all those who knew and loved him from Banks O’ Dee Football Club.

“We miss him terribly already.”

You can read the family’s announcement here. 

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