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Tributes paid to Inverness Caley Thistle groundsman who has passed away

By Will Clark

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Inverness Caledonian Thistle has paid tribute to their groundsman Tommy Cumming who has died.

Tommy Cumming (left) pictured with Matthew Armitage. Picture: Gary Anthony
Tommy Cumming (left) pictured with Matthew Armitage. Picture: Gary Anthony

The 77-year-old passed away at Highland Hospice after battling a long illness.

The club have announced a minute's applause will be held before Saturday's game with Dundee at the Caledonian Stadium and the players will wear black armbands.

Cumming came from Geddes near Nairn and in the early 1970's, he was appointed groundsman at Grant Street Park, home of Clachnacuddin.

He soon moved to Telford Street, Inverness – the home of Caledonian FC, where he served for 20 years as groundsman and kitman.

When Caledonian and Inverness Thistle merged in 1994, Tommy joined the new club and served continuously since that time, caring for the pitch at Caledonian Stadium and more latterly the club’s training pitches at Fort George.

During his career, he also worked with Highland Omnibuses, MacRae and Dick and Stratton Dairy, as a milkman.

Former Thistle, Clach and Caley player Peter Corbett, who first met Tommy when they were working with Highland Omnibuses and continued their friendship at Clach and Caley, said: “Tommy lived for his family and football.

"He was a great groundsman but his interest in the game went well beyond keeping the pitch in good order.

His enthusiasm was infectious and he was passionate about the team, getting to know all the players."

“The number of visitors he received at the Hospice was remarkable and demonstrated the friendships he made down the years and the respect players and management had for him. He was a legend. And will be sorely missed.

Our sympathies go to Margaret, Thomas and Gary and the wider family at this time.”

Jim Falconer, former secretary of ICT and a close friend, said: “Tommy was a good friend and I will miss him. He was an award winning groundsman.

"There are so many stories about Tommy and the lengths he went to provide the best pitch and kit possible.

"It was his pride and joy and he took it personal if a match had to be postponed because of the weather.”

Club CEO Scot Gardiner said, “Right up until the last few weeks when Tommy was gravely ill, he still made incredible efforts to make our home games along with one of his oldest friends, our former Club Secretary Jim Falconer.

"He was always positive about the team and the club no matter how the game went.

"He will be sorely missed by all of us at Caledonian Stadium, particularly Groundsman Dale Stephen, and our deepest condolences go to his family and friends.

"Tommy was such a character and in terms of service to football in Inverness, we won’t see his like again.”

Cumming was married to Margaret and had two sons, Thomas and Gary. He also leaves eight grandchildren, Thomas, Adam, Maisie, Mhairi, Caitlin, Lewis, Melanie and Seb.

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