Neil Donachie Death, Obituary – Neil Donachie passed away this evening, as announced by his family.
Neil, beloved husband of the late Caroline, much-loved father of Gillian, Neil, Shaun, and Stacey, father-in-law of Lachlan, Julie, Radka, and Martin, and cherished grandfather of Ramsay, Callum, Lauren, Leon, Kieran, Liam, and Connor, died suddenly but peacefully at Northlands Care Home, Blairgowrie, on Saturday, May 27th, 2023. Many people regard him as a kind and well-respected cab driver.
Neil’s funeral service will be held at Perth Crematorium on Thursday, June 8th, at 12.30pm, and all family and friends are cordially welcomed. Please send only family flowers, however donations to the British Lung Foundation are welcome. Neil Donachie was a well-known, popular, and important person in the world of Scottish athletics for many years, serving as an athlete, official, and administrator.
A versatile runner who ran cross country, on the road, and on the track, his forte was the latter, where he came third in the Scottish Championships and won the East District championship twice in his major event, the 880 yards. Other highlights were finishing second in a high-quality invitation race in the 1955 Edinburgh Highland Games at Murrayfield and representing Edinburgh in the biannual clash versus Munich.
He competed in national and district championships across the country on a regular basis, and he ran the country’s flagship event, the Edinburgh to Glasgow, 11 times. He was the President of the Scottish Amateur Athletics Association, the Chair of Edinburgh Athletic Club and the Scottish Athletics League, the Chief Decathlon Judge at the 1986 Edinburgh Commonwealth Games, and a member of the Jury of Appeal at the 1990 Auckland Commonwealth Games, all while making a significant contribution at the grassroots level.
He began running as a 15-year-old with the Edinburgh Rover Scouts Club at Spylaw Park in Colinton before joining Braidburn Athletic Club, where he won his first prize, a cross-country cup, followed by the Scottish Boys’ Club mile championship in Aberdeen. After winning a British Trades Union tournament, he was chosen to compete in athletics in the World Youth Games in Bucharest in 1953.
Neil described a later excursion to the Black Sea as “magical” after marveling at the splendor of the Carpathian mountains and fields of sunflowers and corn from the train en route from Vienna. Despite his hosts’ obvious poverty, he was impressed by their kindness and hospitality. Neil was able to see his hero Emil Zatopek while warming up alongside the Russian great, Vladimir Kuts, with whom he claimed to be on “nodding terms”!’
Cornelius Donachie, the younger son of Charles and “Pat” Donachie, was born in Mungle Street, West Calder. His mother was Dutch, her full name Pietertje, and she had moved to Dundee with her parents in 1919.