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Buff Hardie’s son thanks the public for tributes following comedy legend’s death

Buff Hardie in his element at HMT.
Buff Hardie in his element at HMT.

Buff Hardie’s family have thanked the many north-east people and organisations who have paid tribute to the Scotland the What? luminary, who died on Tuesday, aged 89.

There has been an outpouring of emotional messages honouring the memory of the veteran entertainer and his talents have been acclaimed by everbody from Aberdeen University to Aberdeen FC; two institutions to whom Mr Hardie was devoted.

Passionate

His son, John, spoke about the family’s reaction to the overwhelming public response and talked warmly about what his father had meant to him and his sister, Katharine.

He said: “Dad had many passions; he was passionate about public service which led him into a career with the National Health Service.

“He was passionate about Aberdeen Student Show, where he and Steve Robertson first met in the 1950s.

George Donald, Stephen Robertson and Buff Hardie listen in to their latest record. How are Things in Auchterturra, before taking the stage.

“He was passionate about cricket, and theatre and comedy; and he was passionate about all of these things at the same time.

“We fondly recall our holiday to York in 1981 during which time Dad managed to contrive to take us to see both the last day of the historic Headingley test match (against Australia) and Les Dawson at the Spa Theatre in Bridlington.

“He was passionate about the Dons.

The Aberdeen team which won the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1983.

“As a life long fan – he saw his first game at Pittodrie in 1938 – we can still remember his delight when Aberdeen’s appearance in the 1983 Cup Winners’ Cup final resulted, on the morning of the match, in his appearance on breakfast TV with Frank Bough and Selina Scott.

“His delight, though, was not because he got the telly spot, but because it meant the Dons were on top of the world.”

Never comfortable

Although Mr Hardie seemed a natural on stage or in front of the TV cameras, his son revealed that was not his favourite part of being in showbusiness.

Scotland the What? and their producer Jimmy Donald at the Edinburgh Festival.

He said: “It will seem odd, but Dad was never very comfortable in the limelight, and he never sought it out. But he did love to make people laugh.

“I think he loved that more than anything else and being in the public eye was the price he paid for being able to do it. It was a price he paid gladly.

“When we were kids, it was impossible to get more than a few yards down Union Street on a Saturday afternoon without him being stopped by someone, and he had time for everyone.

“He once went into McKeggie’s newsagent at Holburn junction for his paper and one of the redoubtable wifies behind the counter said to her colleague ‘Div ye nae ken fa ‘at is? At’s Buff Hardie. The comedian’.

“’Niver’, the other woman replied. ‘It canna be. He’s got a face like a burst erse’.

“He was once stopped by a chap who greeted him warmly, but whom he couldn’t place: ‘I’m sorry’, he said, ‘you’ll have to help me – do I know you?’

“’Stewart Park’, the man replied. ‘Of course, Stewart!’ said Dad, ‘lovely to see you’. ‘No’ said the chap, ‘that is where we used to play fitba’.”

Freedom

Mr Hardie gained the Freedom of Aberdeen, an MBE along with his STW? colleagues, Steve Robertson and George Donald, and they rubbed shoulders with the great and the good.

But, as his son said, he remained a down-to-earth character who relished life away from centre stage.

George Donald, Buff Hardie and Steven Robertson were given the freedom of Aberdeen in 2008.

John added: “We have been so touched to receive so many messages of support from family, friends and neighbours, as well as seeing the tributes in the press and on social media from those who didn’t know Dad, but think of him fondly, thanks to the impact the show had on them over the years.

“It has been very moving to discover how many people associate our Buff with their own happy memories of laughter, and family, and home.

“And there is really no better way for him to be remembered than that.”

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