Tributes to community great Edward O'Neil of Bishopbriggs

Tributes have been paid to local community great Edward O’Neil – the first ever Queen Scout – who sadly passed away recently at the age of 85.

Thursday, 4th March 2021, 11:11 am
Updated Thursday, 4th March 2021, 1:35 pm
Edward O'Neil

Eddie was brought up in Anderston, and moved with his family to Bishopbriggs in 1971, where he lived for the rest of his life.

He held several senior positions within voluntary service in the local community. He was the Chairman of the Bishopbriggs Community Council, Chairman of Fort Theatre, Captain of Kirkintilloch Golf Club in 1997, and was appointed as a Justice of the Peace (Lay Magistrate).

He was well-known for his love of song and of golf. He had a lovely tenor voice, which developed into a baritone as he got older.

He loved performing in Scout Gang Shows, and then in various amateur Musical Theatre productions, and also in the Fort Theatre. He enjoyed singing with the Lindsay Singers, and also performed solo at many concerts.

Eddie even produced a CD where he sang his favourite songs. At the age of 83 both Eddie and Margaret starred in a music video of a recording of ‘What’s Rang Wi Me’ by his grandson’s rock-band, Mickey 9s. He was described by Mickey 9s fans as a “total legend”, and the fans often recognized him around Glasgow.

Eddie was a fanatical golfer. He played thousands of rounds in his life, on courses all over Scotland, Canada and the USA. He did not take up the sport until his mid-30s, but continued playing until a few weeks before he died.

His first rounds were at Ruchill Golf Course, where he would arrive about 6am and manage to play the nine holes before the course actually opened (thereby avoiding the green-fee!). He then became a member of Annanhill GC, then Kirkintilloch GC, and then Balmore GC.

For a few years he was a member of all three clubs at the same time.

His main love was Kirkintilloch Golf Club, where he played in countless competitions, and had many friends. He was elected Captain in 1997 at the time of huge expansion of the golf course, and helped guide the Club through the acquisition of land and the building of new holes.

During his golfing career, Eddie had eight holes-in-one, the latest being in 2017, at grand old age of 82, and just after having surgery for cancer.

In his younger life, he was very proud Boy Scout, and, in 1952, he became the first ever Queen Scout.

He achieved this honour because the King had died shortly before Eddie was due to receive the King Scout award.

The family were delighted to receive a letter from The Queen who had been told of his illness, and she wished her first Queen Scout comfort during his last days.

Kirkintilloch Golf Club have paid tribute to their Past Captain.

They posted on Facebook: “It is with an extremely heavy heart that we regret to inform members and friends of the passing of Past Captain and long standing member Mr. Edward O'Neil.

"Eddie had been a member of Kirkintilloch Golf Club from the 1970's and was serving his time as Captain of the Club during the extension and implementation of the "New Holes", Eddie always had an interesting story or a funny joke to tell you which always put a smile on everyone's face. A true gentleman that will be sadly missed.

“Our deepest condolences go out to Edward's wife and their family at this time.”

Despite being diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016, Eddie fought this with courage and still played golf every day that he was able to, right up to the end of 2020. He died at home on February 27 with his family around him.

He is survived by his wife, Margaret, four children, 13 grandchildren and five great-grand-children.

His funeral will take place on March 11 at St Machan’s Church in Lennoxtown, and he will be laid to rest in Cadder Cemetery.