“This one’s for you Scaley”: Currie Chieftains raising funds and focusing on mental health awareness in memory of Grant Williamson


Gary Heatly

“Our fathers, partners, brothers and friends are facing a health crisis, yet it’s rarely talked about. Men are dying too young. We can’t afford to stay silent”…

The sudden and untimely death of Grant Williamson in August just after his 30th birthday left everyone at Currie Chieftains in a state of shock and great sadness.

A lifelong Currie man, he lived and breathed the club and anyone who has been to the Edinburgh club’s home at Malleny Park over the last few years will more than likely have been welcomed in by him.

Rugby clubs can be like extended families and there is a close-knit community involved at Currie, so when everyone heard the news there was disbelief – and now some of those involved at the Chieftains are using Movember to raise funds in Grant’s memory.

“Back in August when a message went round to all of the players one day telling us that something tragic had happened at the club I froze reading it and I’m pretty sure a lot of the other boys did too,” first XV full-back and Grant’s close friend Charlie Brett said.

“A few minutes later I then got a call telling me that Grant had passed away and it was probably the worst call I have ever received because Grant was a great friend of mine and a massive part of everything at Currie Chieftains.

“When you think about the stereotypical, ‘club man’ at Currie you think about Grant – or Scaley as everyone knew him as – because he was the life and soul of the social side of things when it came to the players and was just always there on and off the pitch.

“He was forever organising events and was always keen to get everyone involved. It didn’t matter if you were a first XV player or a social player looking to play a few games a season, he just wanted to make everyone feel welcome at Malleny.

“Whenever you turned up at Malleny he was there – you usually heard him before you saw him! – and he just wanted the best for Currie Chieftains and for it to be a real community club.

“As a player Scaley would admit that he was never a first XV regular, but whenever he took to the field whether it be for the firsts, the seconds or the thirds you knew that he would give 100 percent and more for the jersey.

“He was a prop so he didn’t score regular tries and one of my main memories from playing alongside him came around four years ago in a pre-season match at Malleny against Heriot’s.

“Gregor Christie made a break up the sideline, chipped it ahead and then regathered before flipping it back inside to Fergus Scott. Fergus, on about the halfway line at that point, popped the ball to Scaley and then he ran the rest of the way to score a try.

“It was his first score for the first XV and it was a magic one, I am not really sure if he knew how he had done it wearing a headguard that was almost covering his eyes!”

On the day that they found out about Grant’s passing, around 60 players gathered in the Malleny Park clubhouse and Charlie says you could have heard a pin drop as everyone was in such shock.

“We were all together as a team and it was very tough, but we helped each other through it,” Charlie continued.

“It became even tougher in the next few weeks when we were at matches or training and Scaley wasn’t there, but as a playing group and as a wider club we have tried to do positive things since then to help each other and remember him.

“Senior figures at the club including first XV coaches Mark Cairns and Ally Donaldson have really help us out with that and have continued to promote the ‘one club’ ethos and culture while, as players, we have kept in touch with each other as much ass possible and talked to each other.

“We all have lives outside of rugby, but the Chieftains brings us together and it is great that we can be there for each other.

“Scaley was always a big driver of the club’s Movember activities – I think it was because he could grow a moustache in about two minutes and put others to shame! – so this year we wanted to continue on the great work that he has done previously and do it in his memory.

“Movember is one of the leading charities changing the face of men’s health and also focusing on mental health and the more we can do as a club and as a group of team mates and friends in this space the better.

“As of today [November 28] we have raised £8,330 and if we can get up and over the £10,000 mark by the end of the month that would be excellent.

“Scaley would have no doubt been the first to laugh at many of our poor efforts at growing moustaches, but we are doing for the big man and we will make sure he is never forgotten at Malleny Park.”

To donate to Currie Chieftains and their Movember efforts click here