ONE of Stonehaven’s best-loved characters Stewart Troup has died after a long and brave battle to beat cancer.
Stewart, 72, passed away last Friday (September 4) at his Broombank Cottage home in Kirktown with wife Fiona at his side.
Despite his deteriorating condition Stewart wanted to die in the home where he was born on November 29, 1942, son of Bill, the Fetteresso and Dunnottar cemeteries superintendent.
Stewart was raised and educated in the town and on leaving school started work as a projectionist at Stonehaven Picturehouse, run by the Donald dynasty then owners of Aberdeen FC.
It was while growing up in Stonehaven that Stewart formed a lasting friendship with Willie Wallace who went on to play for Celtic and was part of the famous 1967 European Cup winning side.
As a youngster Willie would travel from the West of Scotland to Boys’ Brigade camps in Stonehaven and Stewart would round up a local team to play against the visitors. It was a friendship that was to last a lifetime and last summer Willie, now living in Australia, made a special visit to Stewart’s home to check up on his ailing pal. Stewart was a big Celtic fan and on the 25th anniversary of the ‘67 triumph in Lisbon, Stewart organised for the squad to drop in past Stonehaven as part of their country-wide tour.
By this time, 1992, Stewart was mine-host with partner Dave Taylor at the Hook and Eye. Dave recalled: “Stewart got in touch with Willie and asked if they’d like to stop in past for a sandwich and a cup of tea but there wasn’t a lot of sandwiches or cups of tea drunk that day.
“Their 20-minute stopover turned into two-and-a-half hours. The pub was packed out the door.”
Stewart will be best remembered by the current generation as minehost at the Hook and then Troupers which still bears his name.
But Stewart’s first foray into running his own business was as a bookmaker in Evan Street which became a popular haunt for punters in the town and beyond.
On a Saturday morning before the shop opened it could’ve been mistaken for a country music store as Stewart belted out his favourite Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and countless other songs on an old Dansette.
He even opened a branch office down Beachgate Lane off Allardice Street and on Saturdays his runners would take bets from pubs down the coast and then drive down next day to pay out any punters lucky enough to have backed a winner or two.
Around 1970 Stewart was involved in co-founding local amateur football team the Stonehaven Swifts who went on to enjoy great success in the then Fettercairn and District Summer League.
The team had started out as the “Bookie’s 11” featuring Stewart, his manager Bob Murray and the late Charlie Gall who worked in the shop on a Saturday.
But Bob said: “We all played but when Charlie moved up to team manager we were ‘sacked’ for missing training and the team evolved into the Swifts.”
Stewart still turned out for the Swifts in the early days at Cowie Park playing at full-back alongside the likes of Jim Knowles, Eddie Ingram, Ally Shand, and the Masson brothers, Ian and Dennis.
After giving up the betting shop, Stewart worked for many years at pharmaceutical research company GlaxoSmithKline in Montrose
His long-time business association with publican Dave Taylor came about by chance.
Dave said: “My wife Val and I had bought the Eldergrove in 1985 and Stewart and Fiona used to come in for a drink.
“Stewart said Val was looking tired and I said we both were because we couldn’t get a holiday.
“But Stewart said ‘I’ll watch your pub to give you a holiday’ and that was the start of a long partnership.
“We came back from holiday and I told him we were selling up and buying the Hook and Eye and I asked him to join me.
“After 10 years I wanted to go to Aberdeen but Stewart, being a local guy, wanted to stay in Stonehaven.
“We sold up and Stewart went and bought Troupers but ill-health persuaded him to sell up.”
Stewart married his long-term partner Fiona MacGregor, of Stonehaven, in August 2012 shortly after being told that his illness was terminal.
The couple enjoyed the time they had left together especially their trips to their caravan in Glenesk and a house in Elgin.
Stewart continued to indulge in his passion for horse-racing, country music and his Border Collies.
Davie said: “Stewart loved his horses and everyone of them ran a good race.”
Stewart funeral will be held at Fetteresso Church on Friday (September 11) at 11am and thereafter Fetteresso Cemetery.