Fam­ily’s tribute to ‘unique in­di­vid­ual’

Evening Express (City Final) - - Front Page - BY DALE HASLAM

TRIB­UTES have been paid to a pop­u­lar run­ner and char­ity vol­un­teer who died af­ter suf­fer­ing a brain in­jury.

Kind-hearted Grant Al­lan was well-known through­out Aberdeen due to his work with the less for­tu­nate – in­clud­ing help­ing hand out meals at food­banks and help­ing dis­abled peo­ple climb a moun­tain. The 34-year-old was out with friends at the Ex­o­dus night­club on Bel­mont Street at the start of Sep­tem­ber when he suf­fered a fall and was taken to Aberdeen Royal In­fir­mary. He was cared for by med­i­cal staff in the in­ten­sive-care unit but lost con­scious­ness to­wards the end of Oc­to­ber and sadly died on Sun­day. Friends and fam­ily have de­scribed Grant as a tremen­dously up­beat per­son burst­ing with pos­i­tiv­ity. His mother, Lorna, told the Evening Ex­press: “We are all ex­tremely sad, though it is some con­so­la­tion to hear that so many peo­ple who knew Grant have said so many won­der­ful things about him.” Grant was born deaf and as a child went to Sun­ny­bank Pri­mary School and Links­field Academy, which both had cen­tres for pupils with hear­ing im­pair­ments at the time. He then stud­ied out­door pur­suits at Aberdeen Col­lege and also went on the Jour­ney of a Life­time pro­gramme in which he joined dis­abled chil­dren on a trek in Chile. “It was that which gave him his wan­der­lust,” said Lorna, “he loved to travel.” Grant went to Canada to learn how to snow­board in the hope of be­com­ing an in­struc­tor, and he also went to Chile to take part in a char­ity walk, in which he helped push peo­ple in wheel­chairs up a moun­tain. Lorna said: “Whether it was at a shop or char­ity or just help­ing peo­ple with their shop­ping or look af­ter their pets, Grant was al­ways happy to help peo­ple. He was al­ways a very pos­i­tive in­flu­ence.” In 2014, Grant read about a Tough Mud­der ob­sta­cle course and trained for it, de­vel­op­ing his pas­sion for run­ning. He joined Metro Aberdeen Run­ning Club and be­came a pop­u­lar run­ner and vol­un­teer. Grant’s life was turned around last Oc­to­ber when he was given a cochlear im­plant al­low­ing him to hear. His half-sis­ter Mhairi Al­lan said: “This made a huge im­pact on his qual­ity of life and it was a joy when he heard my voice for the first time clearly. “My brother was warm, com­pas­sion­ate, funny and a unique in­di­vid­ual and I shall miss him so very much, and I know many peo­ple will miss him as he made a huge im­pact on ev­ery­one he came into con­tact with. “I’ve learned so much from him about em­brac­ing life de­spite all its pain and set­backs.” As an adult, Grant re­turned to Aberdeen Col­lege to do an HND course in graphic de­sign, and em­braced his love of art by vol­un­teer­ing at Pea­cock Vis­ual Arts. The cen­tre’s ed­u­ca­tion and com­mu­ni­ties co-or­di­na­tor Ane Smith said: “Grant was an ex­cep­tion­ally kind and hard­work­ing in­di­vid­ual who was a great plea­sure to be around. “He vol­un­teered his spare time to help us at al­most ev­ery event we have held over the last two years and con­stantly went above and be­yond what was asked of him. “His gen­er­ous and ir­re­press­ible na­ture will be sorely missed. We are lucky to have met him and to have called him a friend.” Grant also helped de­liver food to food­banks across the north­east on be­half of Com­mu­nity Food Ini­tia­tives North East (CFINE). CFINE’S qual­ity pro­duce as­sur­ance man­ager Don­ald Ross said: “I would drive the van and Grant would come with me to hand out the boxes. “He would do any­thing to help any­one. He was very fit due to his run­ning and an ex­tremely hum­ble per­son. It is such a sad loss for us, for his fam­ily and for the en­tire com­mu­nity of Aberdeen.” Grant re­ceived a lot of help from North East Sen­sory Ser­vices and also vol­un­teered with Rosie’s Cafe – a so­cial en­ter­prise that gives work ex­pe­ri­ence to peo­ple with chal­lenges get­ting into work. He also helped at Mo­men­tum, which helps peo­ple with brain in­juries. Lorna said: “Grant never wanted to be idle, and I think that’s what in­spired him to join in with so many groups. He is an in­spi­ra­tion to many.” She added: “We had heard he was at Ex­o­dus and suf­fered a fall, but we don’t know much more about what hap­pened. “He spent time in ARI and picked up an in­fec­tion. At times it ap­peared his con­di­tion was im­prov­ing and then it would get worse. “The last time I saw him con­scious, to­wards the end of Oc­to­ber, he made the sign

lan­guage sign to me to say ‘I love you’. “Even when he was in the tough­est of sit­u­a­tions, he would al­ways see the pos­i­tives. “The care he had at ARI was im­pec­ca­ble. The nurses there were bril­liant. “It got to a stage where the doc­tors said that there was not much more they could do for him with­out putting him through a lot, which is heart­break­ing. “I think if he wasn’t so fit and strong, he prob­a­bly would have passed away ear­lier.” Metro Aberdeen Run­ning Club com­mit­tee mem­ber Chris Richard­son said: “Grant was much loved in the club and the trib­utes that have been made show just how much he meant to ev­ery­one. “He joined us in March 2016 and soon be­came a reg­u­lar at train­ing, races and so­cial events. This year was a year of im­prove­ment for Grant – run­ning 5km in 20 min­utes and steadily im­prov­ing over a se­ries of lo­cal sum­mer half marathons on the back of per­haps his most con­sis­tent block of train­ing. “A week be­fore his ac­ci­dent Grant ran a per­sonal best at the Great Aberdeen Half Marathon. “No­body ex­pected that would be his last.” He added: “Grant is in the rare po­si­tion of hav­ing vol­un­teered at Park Run al­most as of­ten as he has run – 34 and 38 times re­spec­tively. “Grant will be missed not just by Metro but by the wider run­ning com­mu­nity.” Grant leaves Lorna, half-brother John, half-sis­ters Mhairi, Morag, Shona and Catri­ona, un­cle Rod and aun­tie Ann.

Grant Al­lan in ac­tion with Metro Aberdeen Run­ning Club

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