Lau­rel’s de­scen­dent to un­veil new head­stone at star’s mother’s grave

The Scotsman - - Around Scotland - By JOHN JEFFAY news­[email protected]­

The grave of Stan Lau­rel’s mother is in an­other fine mess – but her great-great-grand­daugh­ter from Cal­i­for­nia is about to fix it.

The ac­tor, played by Steve Coogan in the film Stan & Ol­lie re­leased last week, spent much of his child­hood in Glas­gow in the 1890s and his mother Mar­garet (Madge) Jef­fer­son is buried in Cath­cart ceme­tery on the south side of the city, near Ruther­glen.

Her grave is un­marked and over­grown but Cas­sidy Cook, Lau­rel’s great-grand­daugh­ter and owner of the en­ter­tainer’s es­tate and ar­chives, in­tends to change that.

She plans to visit Scot­land this sum­mer to pay tribute to Lau­rel’s Scots legacy and un­veil a new head­stone on his mother’s grave.

Ms Cas­sidy learned about the grave’s con­di­tion from Ross Owen, a Lau­rel and Hardy ex­pert who was a con­sul­tant on the new movie.

Speak­ing from her home in Cal­i­for­nia, she said: “At one time I be­lieve there was a head­stone – I have pa­per­work which sug­gests there was, but maybe over time it’s been de­stroyed or stolen.

“When Ross told me, I de­cided we would hold a lottery, where every­one can buy a ticket for $1, and the win­ner will re­ceive a unique piece of mem­o­ra­bilia from our ar­chives. I also hope the win­ner can be there on the day of the un­veil­ing to place the head­stone.

“I plan to turn it around quickly. I’m hope­ful we can be there in the sum­mer.”

Lau­rel’s mother was an ac­tress and was of­ten on the road, es­pe­cially in his ear­li­est years. As a re­sult, he lived in his grand­par­ents’ house, where he was also born, in Ulver­ston, Cum­bria, while his par­ents were work­ing away.

Dur­ing their time in Scot­land, the fam­ily lived on Buchanan Drive and he went to Ruther­glen Academy, now Stonelaw High.

His mother suf­fered from ill-health and died aged 48, while his fa­ther, A J Jef­fer­son, who man­aged the Metropole the­atre in Glas­gow, moved back down south and mar­ried again.

The trip to mark her great­great-grand­mother’s grave will not be Ms Cas­sidy’s first to Scot­land. She vis­ited with her grand­mother – Lau­rel’s only daugh­ter, Lois, who died in 2017 – when she was a child.

“I came to Scot­land when I was 12 and we spent three weeks go­ing to dif­fer­ent the­atres where he per­formed, to his home, and I re­mem­ber vis­it­ing a pub where his sis­ter worked.

“I was quite young at the time, so I would like to go back and ex­pe­ri­ence it again.” 0 Cas­sidy Cook, Stan Lau­rel’s great-grand­daugh­ter, is to un­veil a head­stone on his mother’s grave in Cath­cart ceme­tery

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