Stuart James Mckay, 1948 - 2014

10 Jul

Stuart Mckay died peacefully on Friday Morning, June 27th 2014 after three years treatment for prostate cancer.  He was buried in Melrose cemetery on the following Thursday.  Amongst the family and friends who were there to mourn the loss of this lovely, gentle man, were cricketers from right across the Borders and southern Scotland, making their final tribute to someone who did so much to promote the game of cricket in Scotland. 

Stuart came originally from Elgin, where, after a brief spell as goalie for his primary school team he graduated to the delights of cricket and rugby at ElginAcademy, where he was a member of the Academy's 1st XI.  On leaving school he studied Civil Engineering at StrathclydeUniversity before leaving for New Zealand; both to build bridges and play cricket. 

Stuart returned to Scotland in his mid twenties and for the next 40 years  became heavily involved in the playing and development of cricket in southern Scotland.  For a time he was secretary at Leith of Franklin in Edinburgh, until, with both his work and his home situated in the Borders, he finally settled on Melrose CC  to play his cricket.  Throughout this period he acted for many years as both Secretary and Treasurer of the South of Scotland Cricket Association.  As one friend of long standing put it, "the smooth running of the (cricket) Association was all down to Stuart". 

In spite of this administrative work load, Stuart also found time for coaching youngsters, bringing to the sessions his own quiet humour, patience and gentle encouragement .  He coached children from MelroseGrammar School and EarlstonHigh School, and served as a prominent member of the Borders Junior Cricket Development Group.  Reminiscing with me, one young person simply said, "Stuart always had time", meaning, "he always had time for me".  

In 2009, Stuart most deservedly  received the ICC Centenary Medal for his contribution to Cricket.

Before illness stole him far too early from cricket, Stuart had been attending courses on both coaching and groundsmanship, his enthusiasm for the game as fresh at sixty as at sixteen. 

Amongst cricketers, the loss of Stuart Mckay will be felt most keenly at Melrose where he was at various times Chairman, Secretary and  junior coach. As groundsman he improved the playing surface at Melrose immeasurably and he was always willing to clean up, tidy away and generally muck-in.  But our loss at MCC is not solely, or even mainly, about finding others to take on these roles.  Rather we shall miss this quiet and dignified man trotting up to the wicket to bowl a few overs, or, with his trademark late cut, deftly guiding the ball through the gap between slips and gully. 

We shall all have our memories. Mine shall be that last wicket partnership: five runs needed from the last over, two blokes somewhat past their prime feeling like heroes from the pages of a boy's comic, as the last ball is bowled and we scamper home to victory.  What fun we have had! 

Thank you Stuart. It has been a privilege.

By Rod Ward (Melrose CC)

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