Family, friends and shinty world to honour tragic Boleskine and Fort William player at poignant fundraising match for Mikeysline
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Heartbroken family and friends have spoken for the first time of their warm memories of a talented shinty player and fun-loving dad who died suddenly in Inverness in May.
A charity tribute match will be held in memory of much-loved Scott Knox (29) on Saturday at Boleskine Shinty Club’s Smith Park in Inverarnie.
Hundreds of well-wishers from within the south Loch Ness community and broader shinty world are expected to attend as Boleskine play Fort William, with a 1pm throw-up, with funds going to mental health charity Mikeysline.
The carpet fitter from the Lochaber town, who had moved to Inverness several years before, took his own life after a night out with friends and team-mates.
Grieving brother Kris (26) believes the tragedy will at least have brought some good if it serves as a reminder to the close-knit shinty community of the importance of looking out for one another.
The painter and decorator also feels that contesting the Scott Knox Memorial Cup annually, as is planned, will reinforce the Mikeysline message after a number of similar tragedies within the sport.
Knoxy, as he was known, was mischievous, kind and caring, a “bundle of energy” who loved nothing better than a joke and wind-up.
He is survived by mum and dad Liz and Alan, and fellow siblings Lewis (15), Louise (19), Alan (38) and Shaun (41), and daughters Milly (9) and Lily (15).
Alan Jnr, Lewis and Kris will play for Fort William in the tribute match, with the rest of the family watching on.
Mum Liz will present medals and a man of the match award.
Scott was a prolific scorer and ferocious competitor, but “a big softy” at heart, according to his brother.
“We grew up quite close, sharing a bedroom. As kids, we were always out having a knockabout with our shinty sticks,” Kris, a midfielder with Fort William, recalled.
“Scott showed real talent from a young age, with a good touch and keen eye for goal. We would have been competitive, if I was half as good as him!
“He was someone people liked being around, excitable, always jumping about and having a laugh, just really hyperactive, giggly. He was up for a joke all of the time, but a big softy at heart.
“He loved his friends and family, that’s for sure. He would help anyone.
“He moved up to work for Gavin MacDonald Flooring in Inverness and liked the city. He liked playing for Boleskine and loved the boys in the team, but Fort William was always his team.
“He sometimes said he missed playing for them.”
The charity match will mean a lot to the family, Kris admits.
“It will be emotional, but we’re really looking forward to the day, although I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a wee bit nervous, given the occasion,” he said.
“Boleskine have been fantastic to my mum. She is a Boleskine fan now and wears Scott’s old club tracksuit.
“Mikeysline is obviously close to the subject and for some good to come of it, is important to us.
“Shinty is a working man’s sport and it has affected quite a few people I know, ex-players and current players.
“It is all just about checking up on people you care about.
“Even if you think everything is okay, it might not be the case. It is worth just asking the question, for all the time it takes.”
Boleskine captain and full-back Sandy Fraser became best friends with Scott after he moved north, putting him up in his spare room in Kiltarlity and latterly Dalneigh.
“As a player, he was a goalscoring machine, especially this season,” Sandy said.
“He was a very silky shinty player and scored pretty much all of our goals, to be honest.
“As a guy, he was a joker and loved winding people up. Whatever we did, whether it was shinty or nights out, he was the life and soul.
“He was always putting smiles on people’s faces and he was a very good friend, and a very good father.
“It has been devastating for a lot of us, but everyone has got behind each other.
“I was very close to Scott, so that was a massive help to me.
“It certainly made everyone more aware of speaking to people and checking in on everyone. Our team spirit is strong now.”
Boleskine treasurer and secretary Catriona Fraser described Scott as “a character and a fantastic shinty player”, adding: “He was a buzz in the team and got them going. He was always smiling and happy – and always scoring goals.
“As a club, we’ll always regret that we didn’t see that there was another side.
“Since Scott passed, the guys in the team have been so together. That’s the one small positive.
“It has made them look out for each other, but it is so very sad that we had to lose Scott for that to happen.”