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Wife’s heartfelt tribute to ‘heroic’ Brave model Kevin Wilson, 51

The Dyce dad-of-four "threw everything" at getting better after a brain tumour diagnosis last year.

Kevin Wilson at this year's Friends of Anchor Brave event. Image supplied by James Murison.
Kevin Wilson at this year's Friends of Anchor Brave event. Image supplied by James Murison.

The wife of Kevin Wilson, who starred in this year’s Brave catwalk show, has paid tribute to her “heroic husband” who has died aged 51.

Sharing their love story and Kevin’s battle with an aggressive brain tumour, Ashley says the Aberdeen dad-of-four “threw everything at getting better” and was “devoted to his family to the end”.

Younger years

Kevin Richard Wilson was born on September 4 1971 in Aberdeen. One of two boys, his mother Maureen worked as a clerical assistant and his father, David, as a maintenance manager at Robert Gordon’s College.

Though his early years were spent in Ellon, the family moved to Bridge of Don in 1974 where Kevin was in the first intake at Glashieburn Primary. From there he progressed to Old Machar Academy before getting a job at Scottish Express – working in the logistics and distribution department.

From Scottish Express Kevin moved on to Enterprise Oil. He stayed with that company until early 2000s when it was bought over by Shell, after which time he worked for various companies, latterly at HKN in Iraq.

Destined to be together

As a logistics and materials manager, Kevin worked away for most of his career, but during his time at Enterprise Oil he found one more reason to come home.

“It was love at first sight. I worked on the same floor as Kevin and we just naturally went from work colleagues to friends to girlfriend and boyfriend, said Ashley, Kevin’s wife.

“I honestly think we were destined for one another, we just clicked so well.”

Devoted to his family

In 1996 Kevin was assigned to Constanța, Romania. Ashley followed her heart and went with him. After picking a ring at home in Aberdeen, Kevin proposed in Bucharest.

“He wasn’t the most romantic person in the world. He just sort of said, ‘how about making this the real deal?’ And of course I said yes.”

In 2001 the couple eloped, tying the knot at Gretna Green before Kevin surprised Ashley with a trip to Nice.

Happy couple Ashley and Kevin Wilson.

For many years they lived in Bridge of Don, before a decade in Inverurie and more recently to their new home in Dyce.

As well as Kevin’s son Marc, the couple have three sons, Lewis, Bradley and Ben. With his family growing, Kevin’s love of football – especially Aberdeen and Manchester United – was replaced by his dedication to his boys.

Ashley Wilson with husband Kevin and their sons.

“When you work away, every minute at home is precious and Kevin certainly knew how to be a hands-on dad and devoted husband. None of us are in any doubt as to how much he loved us,” Ashley added.

No more ‘happily ever after’

On July 11 2022 the Wilsons’ world “came crashing down”.

“We thought we were about to get our happily ever after. Everything changed that day.”

Kevin had been in transit from Aberdeen to Erbil, Iraq. The couple had just signed the paperwork for their new home in Spain and Kevin had been in touch to say the journey was going fine.

“I went to work and saw a call from an Iraq number,” said Ashley. “When I phoned back it was a friend of ours. He told me Kevin had been found unresponsive.”

Quick thinking friend

In the early hours of the morning Kevin arrived at the villa he shared with colleagues. He struggled to find his keys, then uncharacteristically sat up talking instead of going straight to bed. When it was time to retire for the night his friend noticed Kevin took a wrong turn on the landing.

“The next morning everyone got up and went to work but when they got there Kevin – who is normally the first there – wasn’t in his seat.

“The same friend who spotted him getting confused on the way to his bed went back to the villa and found him. I’m grateful he acted on his gut so quickly.”

Flown to Dubai

Kevin was rushed to hospital where he was diagnosed with encephalitis.  From there he needed to be medically evacuated to Dubai. Ashley flew to meet him, arriving with only minutes to spare before his plane left for the UAE.

He remained in hospital for three weeks, arriving back in Aberdeen on August 5.

That was just the beginning of Kevin’s health journey.

Tumour found

Despite being under a neurologist in Dubai he was unable to get an appointment with a similar doctor in Aberdeen.

“We were told we would have to wait until October at the earliest. I was beside myself. It was only because he contracted a virus and ended up in hospital that I had the opportunity to demand help.

“I kept saying to them that something was going on in his head. Eventually I brought my own laptop in to show the doctor his Dubai records.

“They sent him for a CT scan and that’s when they discovered a lemon-sized brain tumour.”

Heroic fight

A week later the glioblastoma was removed but he faced a gruelling schedule of treatments afterwards.

“He was a hero. They threw everything at it but his type of tumour is the most aggressive. He did radiotherapy, chemo, we did reiki, I made vision boards for him… a year before Kevin couldn’t even spell meditation but even that was something we tried.”

Although 100 per cent of the tumour was removed, their worst fears were realised in May when he had a follow-up MRI scan.

Kevin Wilson in March 2023 ahead of modelling at Brave. Picture by Kath Flannery/DC Thomson.

“Two more nodules were found. Then another scan showed it was elsewhere in his head.

“Even then he didn’t give up. He took part in Brave with Friends of Anchor but if I’m honest that’s when I realised what we were dealing with. I broke my heart that night.”

Tears on the catwalk

At the charity event Kevin was due to come down the catwalk three times but collapsed after his first run.

“When he felt a bit better we just went to the side of the catwalk and high fived and hugged everyone with tears running down our faces,” Ashley said.

Brave model Kevin Wilson from Dyce. Image supplied courtesy of James Murison.

“Brave was sunshine at a very dark time but it was also the dawning of the realisation that my husband was ebbing away.”

Nothing left unsaid

In June the boys all came home, and On July 5 this year the family were told there was nothing more that could be done for Kevin. From then on he deteriorated.

Kevin was transferred to Roxburghe House. He insisted on Ashley being with him in a cuddle bed.

On July 22, aged just 51, Kevin passed away.

A celebration of his life took place at Baldarroch Crematorium on Tuesday August 8.

Just four weeks before he died, Kevin Wilson with three of his sons at home.

Ashley added: “The one blessing of knowing what’s ahead is that nothing is left unsaid. He knew we loved him and he made sure we knew how he felt about us.

“It’s just devastating. No other word for it. He sacrificed so much for us and he’s not going to get to enjoy it with us. I can’t imagine life without him to be honest. I don’t want to.

“He’s always been a special man who’s touched so many lives all over the world. We miss him beyond words.”