Tommy Wade, Kingussie

Kingussie Camanachd Club was saddened to hear of the passing of one of our all time greats yesterday, Wednesday 16th september - Tommy Wade.

Tommy gave so much of his life and time to our town and community as Provost, local politician, JP and businessman. Others will write elsewhere about the many other parts of Tommy's life. This tribute is from KCC in honour of the incredible contribution he made to our club over EIGHT decades.

Tommy played at every level for Kingussie and one of his early successes was playing for Kingussie school in the 1937 Macpherson Cup Final at the Bught. In the first half Tommy sustained an injury above his eye that required stitching. This was in the days before substitutes so Kingussie were down to 11 men. Tommy ran round to the Royal Northern Infimary, got stitched up, ran back and rejoined the match helping his team to the victory.

In 1939 Tommy proudly made his debut for Kingussie 1st team and was looking forward to many years in the team. Adolf Hitler had other ideas and when World war 2 began Tommy signed up to do his duty as a rear gunner on a Lancaster Bomber. Air crew life expectancy in WW2 was not great and rear gunners were especially vulnerable given their position in the aircraft, they were often the first target of enemy fighter machine guns. Tommy took part in many bombing raids over occupied Europe and Germany and lost many friends and comrades.

After the war Tommy returned to Kingussie and set about his life in business and also restarted his shinty career. He would often coach the youngsters in Kingussie Primary School as well. Kingussie were short of players in the late 40's and decided to only field a junior team so they could re build. A Camanachd Association ruling meant that previously senior players could not play junior so Tommy went to join the Inverness club to continue top flight shinty. Famously this Inverness team were the only team in that clubs history to win the Camanachd Cup in 1952.

Tommy returned to the Kingussie club and later became 1st team coach. In 1961 he was a Camanachd Cup winner again coaching our legendary team of that era that included Rab Muir, Donnie Ross, Willie John Fraser, Andy Anderson, Jimmy Murchie, Ackie Dempster, Ian Ross, Alta Borthwick and Donnie Grant.

Tommy held almost every position on our club committee at different times over the years and worked tirelessly for the club.

In 2018 Tommy cut the ribbon as we opened our new stand at the Dell. This structure actually had a predecessor behind the bottom goals at the Dell. Many years of flooding took their toll on the wooden foundations and in 1935, as the crowd were sitting watching a match, the timbers began to give way and the crowd had to flea for their lives! One of the lucky escapees that day was a 15 year old school boy - Tommy Wade!! He was there at the demise of the old stand and he opened it's replacement 83 years later!!

Not many people will have a life like Tommy Wade and our Shinty club and our community are saddened and diminished by his passing.

Our thoughts are with his family.

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