Banned Hibs casual is secret Jambos fan 176


By Douglas Walker

THE Hibs ‘casual’ banned from every UK football stadium has been unmasked as a HEARTS supporter.

Paul Angus, 20, had a Football Banning Order (FBO) imposed meaning he can’t go to any match in Britain for the next three years.

Police monitored the thug for months before successfully applying to Edinburgh Sheriff Court for the FBO.

And despite being caught fighting with Hibs hooligans, it has emerged Angus, from Edinburgh, does in fact support city rivals Hearts.

It isn’t uncommon for hooligans to join the ranks of opposition gangs with the Easter Road side’s said to be more revered in hooligan circles than their rivals’.

Angus, who works as a lab assistant in Edinburgh University’s chemistry department, has to surrender his passport whenever Hibs play abroad.

However, the current banning order doesn’t prohibit him from travelling abroad if he was to ‘follow’ Hearts instead. 

Should intelligence arise suggesting he was going overseas in such an event to cause trouble, police could then apply for another order requiring him to hand over his passport.

Last night detectives confirmed they knew Angus was a Hearts fan but chose instead to fight with Hibs casuals.

A Lothian and Borders police spokesman said: “A football banning order was granted in respect of Mr Angus as a result of intelligence surrounding his activities with other individuals affiliating themselves with Hibernian FC.

“The conditions of the football banning order are that he is banned from every football ground in the UK for the next three years, and that he is required to surrender his passport whenever Hibernian FC travel abroad. 

“However, there is no requirement for him to surrender his passport should he choose to travel abroad with another club.”

Angus did not contest the FBO which was granted a fortnight ago and made him only the second fan in the Lothians to be punished this way.

Fellow thug, Kevin Watt, was also served with an FBO last summer.  He and Angus were convicted of being involved in a mass brawl at a railway station after Hibs played Falkirk in 2006.  They were fined £225 each.

A source close to Angus said: “He is a Jambo and always has been.  His mates went to the Hibs game so Paul decided to just sit in the pub and catch up with them after the game.

“When he met them later he got caught up in a fight at Falkirk station which ultimately led to his banning order.”

Watt, 19, was given his three-year ban after he was charged with chanting racist abuse during a CIS Cup semi-final at Tynecastle.

Hibs were last night unavailable for comment on the new development.

They previously welcomed the action against Angus and pledged to help root out the ‘small minority’ of hooligans.

A spokeswoman for the club said: “The individual concerned is one of a small minority who continue their attempts to tarnish the otherwise good record of Hibernian supporters.

“The club is fully supportive of the application made by Lothian and Borders Police and welcomes the outcome.”

Police also revealed a number of Hibs and Hearts hooligans have been identified and intelligence is being gathered to serve them with FBOs.

Angus and Hearts were both unavailable for comment.

Hole-in-one for house-hunting golfers 175

By Alexander Lawrie
A GOLFER’S dream flat has just gone on the market – complete with a golf course in its back garden.
The rare property is set within a 100-acre 18-hole course, has plenty of car parking and boasts its very own 19th hole clubhouse just a short putt away from the front door.
The three-bedroom upper villa flat is situated above the Craigentinny Golf Club in Edinburgh and is up for sale at offers over £135,000.
Overlooking the 18th green of the course, the house commands stunning views of the nearby Arthur’s Seat.
And the new owners won’t have far to go for a quick refreshment as the golf club bar is situated just next door.
To the rear of the property is a private courtyard garden along with an informal parking allocation that has been agreed with the owners of the golf club for the residents use.
Scott Brown, Estate Agency Partner at Warners, said that the property was a rare find.
He said: “You won’t find many flats with a 97-acre back garden like this.
“It’s located right above the club shop, overlooking the 18th green, which means you can’t live closer to a golf course than this. 
“And for added appeal it has a pub literally on the doorstep – thanks to the local clubhouse as well as plenty of free parking.
“But even if you weren’t a golfer, the views are about as spectacular as you could find in Edinburgh.
“Although the interior is in need of a complete renovation, there is so much potential here. With the right kind of investment, you could create a perfect three-bedroom home with a golf course for your back garden.”
The flat is in need of full modernisation, but it is hoped that its three bedrooms, kitchen/dining room and spacious living room will attract investors interested in renovating it into the perfect golfer’s haven.

Dramatic rescue for horse who fell head over hooves 174

By Martin Couper

A HORSE sparked a massive rescue operation after falling into six-foot deep septic tank.

An incredible 19 firemen were sent to retrieve Guinness after the animal took the night-MARE tumble on Wednesday evening.

The 17-year-old horse had been walking around its field at Sunnyside Farm in the Borders when a concrete slab gave way plunging him into the cavern below.

Vets who arrived on the scene confirmed that the Guinness- a former international vaulting horse- had not suffered any serious injuries.

However, Andrew Morton, farmer at the Sunnyside Farm still has some concerns over the horse’s health following what he called a “freak accident.”

He said: “His legs are pretty badly swollen but we are hoping he’ll be alright.

“We are worried about the cuts on his legs because he had been in raw sewage and they could get infected.

“I thought when I saw him in there that he had broken his back, but it’s not broken and none of his legs are broken.

“He’s very stiff and sore. It’s impossible to make a final assessment and is difficult to say if he will make a full recovery.

“He was supposed to work on Monday, but he won’t be doing that.”

Guinness is used at the Riding for Disabled centre which is situated on Sunnyside Farm, after being loaned to the company from a third party.

And Riding for Disabled must now foot the cost of the horse’s vet bill because the horse was not insured.

Andrew said: “Riding for the Disabled don’t have insurance on the horse so they will have to pay for his treatment.

“They won’t be charged for the firemen coming out, but there were two vets who were there for two hours and he was given drugs. Another vet is coming back to look at him today.”

The trouble-stricken horse was found by French student Fanny Terrier, 19, while she was working on the farm.

And Andrew was quick to praise Fanny’s alertness which ensured Guinness was not in the hole for long.

He said: “Fanny was working on the farm, driving oats up the field and heard a crack when she drove by. On the way back she saw the horse in the hole and contacted me immediately.

“He’d only been in the hole for five minutes before I got there.”

Firemen worked quickly to get the horse out of the pit, but had to work cautiously given the size of the animal.

He had to be harnessed and pulled from the tank with ropes.

Andrew said: “We had to cut away bits of concrete and metal to get in at him.

“The firemen did well rescuing him and hosing him down, because he was stinking.”

Guinness is now recovering at a stable on the farm while they continue to assess his health.

A spokesperson from Lothian Fire Service said: “We received a call at 17.44 last night about a horse that had fallen into a septic tank.

“The horse received cuts and grazes and will be monitored.”

Olympic legends return to Edinburgh 173

By Michael MacLeod

SCOTLAND’S triple gold medallist Chris Hoy says his childhood heroes were Hearts players.

The Edinburgh cyclist says he wanted to play football for the Jambos as a youngster, but admits he’s “not a true fan anymore.”

Speaking at the homecoming parade at Edinburgh Castle, Hoy said he felt like a “Hollywood star” after being greeted with a hero’s welcome alongside Scottish silver medallists Katherine Grainger, Ross Edgar and David Florence.

An estimated 50,000 people packed the Royal Mile as the Olympians showed off their medals from an open top bus.

Amid the Olympic hysteria, hero Hoy told of who he looked up to as a child.

He said: “I was a huge Hearts fan. My heroes were John Robertson, John Colquhoun and Gary McKay.

“But I wouldn’t say I’m a true fan anymore. It’s the guys that go to the matches every week who are the true fans.

“I used to go to Tynecastle as a youngster and would love to go back sometime, if it ever calms down.”

But returning to normal life won’t be easy for Scotland’s newest superstar, who admitted he was “overwhelmed by the public response.”

He said: “For a minority sports person to attract this type of attention is really bizarre.

“It’s a day I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

“I can’t believe this is all for me and the team – look at it, it’s like something you would see for a Hollywood star.”

Pupils from Hoy’s former school, George Watson’s College were among those lining the streets, keen to catch of glimpse of the first GB athlete in 100 years to win three gold medals in the same games.

Even Hoy’s teammate Ross Edgar said he still couldn’t believe Hoy’s achievements.

He said: “It’s the biggest thing that’s ever happened in my life.

“To be in the same room, never mind the same track, as Chris is still an amazing thing in itself.

“I’m just in shock. It’s slowly sinking in that we got a one-two at the Olympics.”

After picking up her third silver medal in as many Olympic Games, Glasgow rower Katherine Grainger refused to rule out going for gold in London 2012.

She said: “It’s only two days since Beijing, so it’s quite early to make predictions.

“But 2012 is a draw for me and of course I want to be part of that in some way.

“However I’m not going to make big statements like ‘shoot me if I get near a boat!'”

Canoeist David Florence told of how he’d trained for a decade to get his silver medal.

He said: “I remember being on the starting line thinking ‘I actually feel pretty good.’

“Fortunately the run went really well and when I got to the bottom that was when I felt ten years of pressure off my back.”

The four medallists were joined at the Castle by deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon.
She described Hoy as “The King of Scotland.”

She said: “I drove into Edinburgh this morning to see that huge banner of Chris on Lothian Road, with the words ‘King of Scotland’ above his head.

“I don’t think there is anyone who would disagree with that.

“You are without doubt the best cyclist Scotland and Britain has ever produced.”

Looking Hoy in the eye, she added: “Thank you for entertaining us and thank you for inspiring us.”

Also out in force were campaigners calling for Meadowbank velodrome – where Hoy trained – to be saved.

There are fears that Hoy’s success in Beijing may never be recreated for Scottish cyclists if plans to demolish Edinburgh’s velodrome are carried out.

Campaigner Kevin Conner carried a huge banner the length of the Royal Mile in front of the Olympians’ open-top bus.

The banner read: “Don’t demolish Meadowbank velodrome.”

He said: “We’re here to show support Chris Hoy’s comments about how ridiculous this plan is to scrap the velodrome.

“Glasgow is getting a new one for 2012 and that’s great for them, but Edinburgh produced Chris Hoy and the council want to knock down the very birthplace of his success.

“All they have said is that they will build a cycling facility, but until they specify whether there will be a velodrome, we hope Chris will continue to support our campaign.”

JK Rowling scared to google Harry Potter 172

By Douglas Walker

JK Rowling has revealed she resisted temptation and didn’t search ‘Harry Potter’ online until five years after the release of the first book.

The multi-millionaire author says she was ‘utterly unprepared’ for what she encountered and spent hours reading through the numerous websites dedicated to her phenomenal creation.

Miss Rowling’s comments were made in the foreword of a new book which she says has helped her imagine what is must be like to be an ordinary fan.

The publication entitled Harry, A History has been written by Melissa Anelli, who runs the ‘Leaky Cauldron’ website.

Miss Rowling, 43, writes: “Not until sometime in 2002 did I finally crack, and do the thing that people assumed I did daily. I Googled Harry Potter.

“I knew, of course, that there were fan sites out there. My postbag was full of mentions of them, my readers assuming that I was au fait with what was happening online.

“My PA, Fiddy, had had contact with a few of the webmasters. But I was still utterly unprepared what I found during that first, mammoth trawling session.

“I had already heard of ‘The Leaky Cauldron’; it was one of the biggest and most popular Harry Potter sites on the net, and I had been told about a couple of great things they had done.

“But I had never seen it for myself, never realised exactly what went on there. I sat and read editorials, predictions, theories that ranged from strange to wild to perfectly accurate. I was, frankly, stunned – and I remain stunned.”

The Edinburgh-based writer says that after reading the book, ‘a great chunk’ of her life has now been explained.

She wrote: “At long last I understand what was going on while I was holed up writing, trying to filter my exposure to Potter-hysteria.

“A great chunk of my own life has been explained to me. Melissa has filled in an enormous number of blanks. Reading the book you now have in your hands has been an astonishing experience for me.

“It is as though I have, at last, achieved the ambition I held for years: to go along to a bookshop at midnight on Harry Potter publication night, in disguise, and simply watch and listen.”

The Harry Potter book series has sold 375m copies worldwide and has also spawned five blockbuster films with the sixth instalment, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, due out next year.

Ms Rowling has amassed a personal fortune of an estimated £560m making her richer than the Queen.

Brave penisoner fights off thief for the second time 171

By Michael MacLeod

A PLUCKY pensioner fought off and chased a thief who stole money from her theatre – for the second time.

When a “skinny” robber burst into Queens Hall on Monday morning, cloakroom supervisor Vera Alexander, 81, thought she was having déjà vu.

He told her the exact same story he’d tried during last year’s Edinburgh festival in a bid to snatch cash from the till.

He shoved tiny Vera against the wall and pocketed a handful of notes.

But brave the brave pensioner shouted, “you’re not having that,” and snatched the money back off him by putting her hand into his shirt.

Only slightly shaken by the ordeal, she spoke  at her home in Edinburgh’s Wardie Avenue of how she was determined to return to work later that night.

She said: “I was angry to be in that situation and recognised him from last year when he tried the same trick.

“He said he wanted to buy tickets for his cousin so I blocked his way but he pushed me and hid the notes in his shirt.

“I shouted “you’re not having that” and stuffed my hand into his shirt to get them back and he ran off.

“It was quite a farce.”

Thanks to her intervention, the Irvine Arditti and Rudiger Lotter violin show continued without any of the audience knowing about the raid.

Vera went home to brush herself down, then returned to her evening job at Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre.

A well-known face in the capital’s theatres for the past 60 years, she says it was her love for the Queens Hall that spurred her to fight back.

She added: “It was just my instinct because this was money belonging to the Queen’s Hall.

“I’ve worked for the hall for 29 years and I love it and would have hated to see it robbed.

“I was very surprised to see the same thief again, but my job is to be responsible for that money, so I tried to get it back.”

Had she not been so vigilant, bosses at the Queens Hall say the violin show that was on at the time could have been interrupted.

Adrian Harris, chief executive said: “Vera is well known and loved in Edinburgh’s theatres and we have no qualms employing someone of her age.

“The concert was part of the Edinburgh International Festival, and we think the robber was waiting outside for a quiet moment to pounce.

“But Vera has a great love for the theatre and stuck up for herself to the best of her abilities, as well as give a good description to police, which we really do thank her for.”

Police praised Vera’s “very brave” efforts and appealed for witnesses.

The thief was last seen heading off South Clerk Street towards Montague Street.

He was described as having an Edinburgh accent, skinny, white, with scruffy blonde hair, between 25 and 30-years-old, around 5ft 8”, wearing a long-sleeved blue shirt and dark trousers, carrying a red plastic bag.

A police spokeswoman said: “This woman has acted very bravely in trying to stop the thief getting away with any money.

“Although she was not hurt, the ordeal has left her understandably shaken.

“We would appeal for anyone who was in the area at the time, and who saw what happened, to contact police.”

Tavish Scott to lead Lib Dems 170

By Karrie Gillett

TAVISH Scott has been appointed as the new leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

The MSP for Shetland secured 59 per cent of the vote – putting him well ahead of his political heavyweight rivals Ross Finnie and Mike Rumbles.

Scott – who was deputy leader of the party – takes up the leadership role left empty when Nicol Stephen quit in July citing family reasons. 

And the result –announced at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium in front of politicians and party activists – was hailed by Scott as the “gold medal of the Liberal Democrats Olympics”.

Scott was comfortably the winner of the three-horse race with West of Scotland MSP Ross Finnie capturing 23.1 per cent of the vote.

And Mike Rumbles, MSP for Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, achieved 17.9 per cent.

Tavish Scott emerged early on as favourite in the contest for the top job and is no stranger to political life in Scotland.

He served as a deputy minister in the first Holyrood administration and famously quit in protest over fishing policy.

But today, the 42-year-old said he was “very clear” on the challenges that lay ahead as leader and the opportunities it would bring.

And one of Scott’s first duties as an opposition party leader was to deliver an attack on Alex Salmond’s SNP government.

Mr Scott said: “The tectonic plagues of Scottish politics are shifting and when they stop I am determined that the Lib Dems will be a dominant presence on the political landscape.

“After less than 18 months in government, the SNP is riding high in the polls. They are popular – but here is my prediction – by 2010 they will not be.

“We can already see the underlying weakness that will undo Alex Salmond.

“What looks confident, sure-footed and wily today will be seen as arrogant, misguided and politically dishonest tomorrow.

“Spin is the hallmark of this government but spin has a shelf life.”

The outcome of the leadership race will now set the direction of the party and Scott insisted he was the man to take the Lib Dems to the next level.

He said: “I am delighted to be elected leader of my party. I want to make sure that the Liberal Democrats have real ideas and solutions to the needs of everybody in Scotland.

“I am very determined that we get outside the comfort zone of the Holyrood bubble and we talk about what people are feeling at this time with the rising prices of food, fuel and energy.”

“I want to make sure that we as a party have some real, meaningful answers to that.”

The new Lib Dem leader also thanked the outgoing Nicol Stephen, who was present as the result was announced, for his commitment and hard work.

One of the first official duties as party leader will be greeting Scotland’s Olympic heroes when they return to Edinburgh tomorrow.

He said: “I very much look forward to being part of the crowd on Edinburgh Royal Mike to cheer on our Olympians now that they are back home in Scotland.

“It is a great source of pride to al lof us that they have done so well and I can’t wait to see more Scots competing at that level.

“It’s great for our country and for the long term beneft of our young people as well.”

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats have also selected Harry Wills as their candidate for the Glenrothes by-election on the Prime Minister’s political doorstep.

No date has been set for the by-election caused by the death of Labour MP John MacDougall in the next constituency to Gordon Brown’s Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath seat.

Scots artefacts auction success 169

By Alexander Lawrie
TWO items of historical Scottish importance have sold at auction for thousands of pounds above their estimated value.
A silver sword which once belonged to Bonnie Prince Charlie sold to an English Jacobite collector for an astonishing £22,800.
And a lock of hair belonging to Mary Queen of Scots was snapped up for a whopping £7200.
The strands of hair, which are mounted on top of a jewellery box and once belonged to Lady Belhaven, was originally expected to fetch around £3000.
While the 2ft 8inch engraved silver sword was only initially valued at £7000.
The jewellery box carries the inscription “A Lock of Queen Mary’s Hair Which Belonged to the Late Lady Belhaven”.
The historic artifact was discovered locked away in a secret drawer of a bureau in Lord Belhaven’s official residence at Holyrood Palace in the mid-1800’s.
An envelope with a handwritten note with the words “a lock of my own hair” and signed “Mary R” was also found alongside the lock.
The signature was later authenticated as that of Queen Mary Stuart after it was compared with original documents held in the Royal Collections.
After finding the lock of hair, Lord Belhaven gave it to the then monarch, Queen Victoria
It is also believed previously a butler at Holyrood Palace took a small section of the hair and gave it as a token to a lady in waiting.
That piece was sold by Lyon & Turnbull in 2001, and is now in the Hawick Museum and Scott Gallery.
The lock of hair and the jewellery box were sold to an anonymous buyer at the Lyon and Turnbull auction house in Edinburgh yesterday.
A spokesperson for Lyon and Turnbull said: “We had two bidders for the lock of hair, one on the telephone and one actually in the room.
“The bidder who attended the auction won with an unbelievable bid, but he went away a very happy man.
“He told me he was a collector of historical Scottish pieces and was absolutely delighted to have bought the lock of hair.
“He had no idea of its worth or what it was going to go for, but he said he just had to have it.”
The beautifully engraved silver sword belonging to Bonnie Prince Charlie formed part of a collection which was being held in Cumbria.
Colin Fraser, a silver specialist with Lyon and Turnbull, said: “It measures about two feet eight inches long and has a beautifully modelled guard overlaid with floral decorations.
“There is a skilfully engraved representation of a halberd – a two handled weapon – and banner crossed over by a spear and cannon with drums.
“There is also a fire blue and gilt decoration with a ‘C’ surmounted by a royal crown with a stylised thistle. The blade is contained within a silver mounted scabbard.”
The anonymous English buyer was said to be “over the moon” at winning the bidding frenzy that surrounded the sale of the sword.
Born in Rome in 1720, Bonnie Prince Charlie was the exiled Jacobite claimant to the British throne who led the Scottish Highland army in the 1745 Rebellion. He was the son of James Francis Edward Stuart and grandson of James II of England.
Charles raised his father’s standard at Glenfinnan and marched on the city of Edinburgh, which quickly surrendered.
His forces were routed at Battle of Culloden in April, 1746.
He was hunted as a fugitive for more than five months, but made his escape to France in September 1746.

£100k fine for Grand Lodge after woman falls to death 168

By Paul Thornton

THE Grand Lodge of Scotland has been fined £100,000 over the death of a resident at one of their care homes.

Scotland’s top mason – Sir Archibald Orr Ewing – was indicted as office bearer for the lodge over health and safety failings which allowed an 87-year-old woman to fall to her death from a second-floor window.

Management at the Edinburgh home failed to fit restrictors to the windows despite a Care Commission recommendation to do so.

Instead, two windows were simply painted shut – including the one that 87-year-old Leah Bell fell from.

And staff were not even properly trained to check windows were safe for residents.

Sheriff Gordon Liddle said the lodge had “clearly failed to meet their responsibilities” adding that their best efforts “had fallen well short”.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard how a 2002 Care Commission audit had advised managers at Sir James McKay House in the Ravelston area of the city to have all windows above ground floor fitted with a mechanism which prevents them from opening more than 9cm.

The home accepted these recommendations and say that works were carried out to meet them.

But two windows – including that of one in Mrs Bell’s room – were missed and simply “painted shut”.

Widowed for the third time just 15 months before, Mrs Bell was not coping well and the obituary of her third husband, Reg, was found on her bedside table after her fall.

Staff carried out an assessment of her mental and physical health when she moved into the home in February 2006 and found her to be in generally good health.

But in the lead up to her death changes were noted in her behaviour, which was put down to a urine infection, and staff members checked on her three times in the hours before her death on March 10.

They found her lying on the ground outside her second-floor room and called for paramedics who rushed her to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

She died four hours later from multiple injuries, including two broken legs, caused by the 22-feet fall.

The senior care officer at the home, one of two operated by the lodge in Scotland, admitted that staff did not physically check if the painted windows could not open.

Staff were not aware that windows should not have been painted shut and that every window should have been fitted with a restrictor, meaning the dangers were never picked up.

This amounted to a failure to provide employees with adequate training on the part of the lodge.

Sheriff Liddle said: “This is a tragic set of circumstances because of inexcusable failure to secure windows and an old lady died.

“The tragedy is that this was so easily preventable.”

Despite the sheriff’s damning assessment of the lodge’s failings Mrs Bell’s daughter, Brenda McConkey, said she did not blame the home for her mother’s death.

She said: “In our opinion if she was that determined to get out she would have done.

“Whether it was because she was upset or she panicked and thought there had been a fire alarm we will never know.”

Brenda, 63, added: “She had been widowed 15 months earlier and had not been coping well, I don’t think she enjoyed being on her own.”

Of the hefty fine, Brenda said: “It is an awful lot of money but I suppose you have to take loss of life seriously.”

David Begg, who was also indicted as Grand Secretary of the lodge was at court yesterday but declined to comment.

Their lawyer said the lodge took full responsibility for the tragedy and lessons had been learned.

A Care Commission spokesman said: “Owners of care services are required to ensure their premises are safe and fit for purpose.

“The Care Commission carries out regular inspections to ensure care homes have the correct policies and procedures in place for the safety and welfare of residents.

“Where areas for improvement are identified in a building, these will be highlighted to the provider.”

Holidaymaker drowns in sea after family wedding 167

By Douglas Walker

A community worker has drowned in the sea while attending a family wedding in Cyprus.

Caring Alex McGregor, 56, was enjoying a fortnight break on the Mediterranean island to see his niece tie the knot.

Tragedy struck just days after the ceremony when his body was discovered washed up on the beach.

Retired Alex, from Edinburgh, was a dedicated member of his community and devoted most of his free time to local projects.

Last night friends and colleagues paid tribute describing him as ‘simply the best’.

Alex had travelled to the Cypriot resort Ayia Napa for the wedding of his niece, Nicola McGregor. 

Never married himself, he stayed in the same apartments as his two brothers, Colin and Billy McGregor, and sister, Lana McGregor, along with their families.

The ceremony took place half way through the two-week holiday with the whole family enjoying the break without incident.

Then a couple of days after the service, Alex went for his regular evening stroll around the town.  However when he didn’t return as normal, his concerned family called the local police.

It was then that officers told shocked relatives that Alex’s body had already been found washed up on shore.  An autopsy later confirmed he had drowned.

Alex’s family say he wasn’t acting out of the ordinary and are at a loss to explain how he could have ended up in the water. 

They have struggled to find out exact details of what happened because of the language barrier.

Alex’s body was flown home with his funeral taking place last Tuesday in Edinburgh. 

Over 100 mourners attended the graveside service including many members of his local community whom he had helped over the years.

Alex regularly assisted pensioners with their daily tasks such as shopping and taking them to doctors appointments.

His auntie, Elizabeth Dailly, says the whole family have been left shocked by his sudden death.

She said: “Alex was such a nice, happy wee guy.  He was very close to all the family and was particularly fond of his late grandmother and mum.

“He was very attentive to both and did everything for them.

“Just a few weeks ago I mentioned to Alex in passing that I didn’t have my OAP bus pass.

“A few days later he came up to my flat and presented one to me – he’d sorted the whole thing out without me knowing.

“That was Alex for you – always thinking of other people.”

After leaving school Alex, from Edinburgh’s Dumbiedykes area, became a painter and decorator before working for the now defunct engineering firm, Ferranti, as an office clerk. 

Latterly he worked in a hostel doing general maintenance work before ill health forced him to quit.

Most of his time was then spent looking after people in the community but he also enjoyed going to car boot sales and also loved watching Rangers on TV.

His cousin Jeff Stewart said: “He was very happy-go-lucky with a very dry sense of humour and was always cheery.

“He would do anything for anyone and was very popular in the local community.  There were over a hundred people at his funeral.”

Alex was vice chair of the Lochview and Holyrood Housing Association and was regularly invited to official functions including the Queen’s annual garden party at Holyrood.

Chairwoman of the Housing Association, Liz Walker, worked with Alex for ten years and says he was held in such high esteem that he was encouraged to run for council.

She said: “Alex was always there to give anyone a helping hand.  If someone was ill he would do their shopping and would regularly check on them. 

“He had cared for one elderly woman, Gladys, for years and after her death last year the NHS wrote a letter thanking him for all the care he provided.

“Alex was also instrumental in our children’s garden project.  The kids used to run wild around the estate, smashing windows and daubing the walls with graffiti.

“Then Alex helped teach them all about gardening and their misbehaviour was virtually wiped out.

“He was thought of that highly by the local community he was asked him to stand for council. 

“However he declined as he didn’t want to be in the spotlight and preferred to stay in the background.

“I will miss both as a colleague and also as a good friend – he was ‘simply the best’.

Alex’s brother, Andrew McGregor, 57, added: “He had a heart of gold and would do anything for anyone.

“He absolutely loved being part of the community and Edinburgh – he had four pictures of the castle up in his flat.

“We are struggling to come to terms with what has happened but are taking comfort from all the lovely things people have had to say about him.”

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “We can confirm a British national drowned in Cyprus on August 10, 2008.

“We are providing consulate assistance to the family.”