Lanarkshire mourns ‘truly inspirational’ Jimmy Anderson as community stalwart dies aged 92

Communities across Lanarkshire are mourning the loss of a much-loved figurehead, inspirational to people of all ages across the region.

Stonehouse local James Anderson dedicated his life to helping other, with his kindness, warm personality and thoughtfulness legendary among those who knew him – and those who didn’t.

Affectionately known as ‘wee Jimmy,’ the stalwart touched the hearts of many through leading roles in the Boys’ Brigade Company; Church of Scotland; and his local Senior Citizens Group.

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He was a charity champion and an avid runner – racing in numerous marathons for local and national causes throughout his lifetime.

And as the Stonehouse community will testify, Jimmy was an admired character to locals, many of whom knew him from his dedicated job as an ice cream vendor.

A measure of his natural generosity is simply, where on many occasions within this role, when a customer, often a child, short of the required cash, Jimmy had the shortfall made up out of his own pocket.

It is with sadness that adored Jimmy passed away on Wednesday, November 17 at the age of 92.

He died in Wishaw General following a short illness and leaves three daughters, Heather, Anne and Jean as well as a wide extended family.

Jimmy was devoted to his late wife, May, who died some years ago. However, it was his marriage that brought him to live in Lanarkshire in 1954.

He had been born and brought up in a deprived area in the East End of Glasgow where the razor gangs were prolific but Jimmy had successfully avoided the pitfalls such an environment can often bring.

Over his lifetime in Stonehouse, Jimmy used the experience of problems encountered in those early days to positively develop both his own life and that of many others.

Jimmy volunteered as an Officer in the Boys’ Brigade Company where, in his own quiet and undemonstrative way, he quickly made an impact.

When the Company experienced leadership problems not long after its formation, he stepped into the role of captain- a position he held for over 60 years.

His personal example, approach to life and commitment over those 60 years was a positive inspiration to many impressionable young men who may have gone down a more negative path but for his influence.

To mark his long service he was appointed Honorary Vice President of the Hamilton and District Battalion.

Jimmy was also a loyal and dedicated member of Stonehouse Church of Scotland and in his early 20s, his qualities were recognised by the church when he was ordained an Elder, a position he held until his death.

In 1999 he received a certificate from the Church of Scotland marking 60 years faithful service as an Elder.

In his later years, Jimmy became involved in the Stonehouse Senior Citizens Group which sadly was experiencing difficulties. The group was in real danger of folding when Jimmy was elected president and chairman.

The result was remarkable – within a short time, the group was working together in harmony. Jimmy’s wise and circumspect advice was once again at play.

He held the position- being repeatedly voted on unanimously- for over 20 years and it was little over a year ago that he finally retired from the fulltime position.

However, the respect and admiration in which he was held, and in recognition of what he had achieved over the years, led to him being elected Honorary President and Chairperson.

In his 50s, Jimmy decided that he would take up running and in the 25 years which followed, he participated in many marathons, half marathons and similar races where he raised funds for local and national charities.

Among those to benefit were Guide Dogs for the Blind, Cancer Research and Stonehouse Hospital.

As the years progressed, age and arthritis took their toll but this did not stop Jimmy running and his well-known figure would be seen jogging through the village and surrounding area.

It was obvious to everyone that he was punishing himself but Jimmy was never one to give in. If he said that he would run for a charity, he would always see it through.

Every year he would select an appropriate charity, If someone in the village was suffering from cancer then it would be Cancer Research. If he learned of someone with eye sight problems, it would be Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Jimmy was an unofficial social worker to the people of Stonehouse and a discreet and sympathetic ear was always open to anyone in need.

If someone needed transport to a hospital appointment, even if the distance was lengthy, Jimmy would volunteer his unpaid services with his own car.

One grateful recipient of his kindness even left him money in her will but, not surprisingly, this was donated to charity. This was the mark of the man.

In 1999 he was one of the first recipients of the Community Service Awards made by South Lanarkshire Council.

And in the 2017 Queens Birthday Honours list, Jimmy was awarded the British Empire Medal for his services to the Boys’ Brigade and the community of Stonehouse.

Over his long life, Jimmy Anderson touched, and influenced for good, the lives of a great number of people.

One of them, former Police Superintendent Campbell Thomson, told us: “Jimmy was a truly inspirational and good man.

“He came into my life when I joined the local Boys Brigade Company at seven years of age and remained a friend and mentor up until the time of his death.

“There was only one ‘Wee Jimmy!’”

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