Jack Souttar, and his family, had to watch the death of his talented, sporting son Aaron from Motor Neurone Disease.
And he has now called for major research to halt what he describes as “one of the most hellish diseases” to affect mankind.
Aaron, 42, of Brechin, a graduate design engineer and talented golfer, died in July, two-and-a-half years after the first signs of MND emerged.
The dad-of-one had been a footballer in his youth but golf was his sport of choice.
He played at Brechin where he was club champion and Dalhousie Medal winner.
His athleticism was in keeping with family tradition. His father, Jack, had played for Brechin City, brother Harry plays for Stoke and brother John plays for Rangers.
Over the course of his illness, Jack said Aaron received outstanding support from his partner Paula Thompson, MND Scotland, My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, the NHS and Angus Council, his sisters Ailsa and Mhiran and wider family.
In the latter stages of his illness, Aaron was provided with a screen that could be operated with his eyes to change television channels and follow his beloved sport.
This also allowed him to communicate by WhatsApp and email.
Jack said: “MND was the illness Aaron suffered from and it is one of the most hellish diseases that affects mankind.
“My son was handsome, hard working, generous, intelligent, athletic and a friend to many with a wonderful sense of humor who loved life.
“This hellish disease must be stopped and I feel heart sorry for any family going through life with MND.”
Aaron was born in Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, in March, 1980.
He began his education at Andover School, Brechin, the fourth generation of the Souttar family to attend there.
At primary school he played golf, cricket and football and went on to play for Brechin Boys’ Club.
Aaron attended Brechin High School where he was a popular pupil and known for his relaxed demeanor.
He went on to study at Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University and graduated with an honors degree in design futures.
Aaron began his working career at Harron Glass design studio in Glasgow where a colleague was Paula Thompson, who in later years would become his partner.
Her mother had died of MND and when she heard of Aaron’s illness, she made contact with him again and traveled from her home in Edinburgh to look after him.
Jack, who runs an architectural firm in Brechin, said: “We were still using drawing boards here and Aaron agreed to come back and get us started with computer-aided design and he stayed for 15 years.”
He became a huge asset to the firm, said Jack, and could converse at ease with both clients and planning officials.
While Aaron concentrated on his golf, he closely followed the flourishing football careers of his brothers.
Harry, 23, was eligible to play for the Australia national side because of his mother’s nationality.
He began his career at Dundee United before joining Stoke City.
Similarly, John played for Dundee United, before starring for Hearts and Scotland, then joining Rangers in the summer.
‘Great attitude to life’
Jack said Aaron was able to go to Ibrox around Christmas as the 25-year-old put the finishing touches to his Light Blues move.
Gers defend John described Aaron as “my brother, my hero and my best mate”.
Jack added: “For the last four months, Aaron required 24-hour care, funding for which was provided by Angus Council.
“MND Scotland, the NHS MND specialists and My Name’5 Doddie Foundation were generous in advice and support and provided grants for equipment for Aaron’s house.
“Aaron was laid back and generous and had a great attitude to life.
“He was smart, articulate and a decent lad. I don’t think anyone said a bad word about him.
“The enjoyment and satisfaction Aaron took from raising his son, Hamish, who is six, was immeasurable and I am certain that Hamish will appreciate the relatively short time they had together.”
You can read the family’s announcement here.
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[Brechin dad remembers ‘talented’ son]