Tom Gilzean

Remembering Tom Gilzean
12 May 1920 - 4 November 2019

Tuesday 12 May 2020 marks what would have been the 100th birthday of one of Edinburgh's most beloved citizens - Tom Gilzean.

To honour him, Edinburgh Children's Hospital Charity is asking people to share their remembrances of Tom, and to make a donation in his memory to help the children, families and staff of the Sick Kids hospital.

An indomitable spirit, decorated war veteran, and retired bus driver, Tom took up collecting for charity after his wife Anne died, and raised well over £1 million for his chosen charities.

Come rain or shine, he could be found in his bow tie and tartan trews, proudly displaying his medals and asking people to "open up their hearts" for the Sick Kids. When asked why he kept going with his phenomenal fundraising Tom would say: "I just want to help the children and keep them safe."

This spring, a host of events had been planned to honour Tom on his 100th birthday. Lockdown is preventing such public celebrations of the life of such an extraordinary man, but his incredible contribution to Edinburgh life should not be allowed to slip by.

You can email memories, messages and photos of Tom to or leave a message with your donation.

Please "open up your heart" and keep Tom's memory alive by supporting the children and families of the Sick Kids.

Donate in Tom's memory

Read memories of Tom sent in by his friends and supporters below.

"I'm so pleased that ECHC are remembering my father during this difficult time. I'm sure he would have tried to find a way to help his charities." - Douglas Gilzean, Tom's son

"Lovely gentleman. Always had a chat with him. A true hero."

"Remembering a true and great hero. Very sadly missed."

"A true hero. Missed by the Edinburgh Taxi Trade and kids outing."

"Absolute legend."

"Was always such a positive, strong man. Never forgotten."

"What a truly great man. So glad I met him. One of a kind, wish there were more like him in the world."

"What an incredible legacy to leave behind."

"An inspiration to us all."

"Never far from our thoughts."

"Thanks for the many hours of fundraising and the good that it has done for kids who use the Sick Kids."

"What a wonderful gentleman. His family must be so proud of him and how he lived his life."

"They broke the mould when they made Tom. A wonderful, courageous, inspirational man."

"A true gentleman with a heart of gold."

"A real hero, never forgotten. A true gent."

"A truly wonderful man. May he live in the memories of people for a very long time. He was a great inspiration."

"So missed on our Edinburgh streets."

"Edinburgh's hero."

"'For the charity, for the children,' he would shout. I used to see Tom every single day on the Royal Mile. Come rain or shine, he was there collecting for the Sick Kids - a true unsung hero."