TONY McVeigh always had a story.

He was Govan-born and proud of it, explains his son John, and he liked to talk about his roots and his life in old Glasgow.

“We were never going to be one of those families who say, ‘oh, we never really knew him’ after their dad dies,” smiles John, wryly.

“We couldn’t stop him talking – he loved to share his stories.”

He laughs: “And he would be over the moon to think his name will be in the Glasgow Times. He read it all the time.”

Tony’s family – wife Ann and John, his brother Anthony and sister Caroline - are supporting the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice’s much-loved annual Light Up A Life ceremony.

It gives those who have lost a loved one the chance to dedicate a light on the Christmas tree in the grounds of the hospice and attend a special carol service.

The Glasgow Times will also run the names of donors in a dedicated feature in the newspaper in the run up to the service.

Rhona Baillie, Chief Executive of The Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice, said: “We are so delighted to be able to bring our much-loved Light Up A Life remembrance service back as an in-person event this year.

“Last year’s service was offered virtually due to the pandemic and while many people supported it, we know just how important it is to families that they can attend a service where they can remember their loved ones in the company of other families.

“But we were also determined that we would again offer the service virtually, so people who may not be able to attend in person can still stream the event from the comfort of their own homes.”

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She added: “Christmas is such a special time of the year, but it can also be a more painful time for those who have lost a loved one.

“The hospice continues to do all we can to provide support and comfort to those who need it - and we thank the people of Glasgow for continuing to support the hospice.”

Tony McVeigh died aged 74 in June, six weeks after he first went in to the hospice for treatment for bone cancer.

“I know it’s full of cliches, and it’s what everyone says, but it is true - we cannot thank them enough,” says John, with feeling.

“From the receptionists, who remember your name every time you visit, to the nursing staff who made sure to put on see-through face masks for my mum, who is deaf and has to lip read, right up to Rhona herself, they are so caring and compassionate. “

He adds, his voice breaking with emotion: “They gave us time with my dad, and looked after him so well, we will never forget it.”

Tony was a well-kent face in Govan, where he grew up, and South Nitshill, where he moved to with Ann to bring up their young family.

His first job was a fruit and veg man for the Co-op, then he worked at Glasgow Airport, before spending the bulk of his career in the civil service, working for the Department of Work and Pensions for almost 40 years.

He was a caring man, says John, who always put others first.

“My dad was born with what used to be called club feet, and my mum is deaf, but they brought us up to believe in ourselves and encouraged us to do everything we wanted to do - ‘disability’ was never a thing in our house,” says John.

“I would describe my dad as three things: very religious, a family man, and someone who would do anything for his friends.

“Because of his job, he was always trying to help people, giving them advice if they needed it.

“When he died, people on the South Nitshill Facebook page were posting such lovely comments about him, calling him ‘ a legend’. I was in tears reading them, knowing he meant so much to all these people.”

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Tony was a proud dad and grandad - he doted on his two granddaughters - Aibhlin, who is nine months old, and daughter to Anthony and his wife Aislinn; and 18-month-old Molly, daughter to John and his wife Lesley.

“It was Molly’s birthday in May, and we took her up to the hospice in the hope she might be able to see my dad through the window,” says John.

“The staff went out of their way to bring us inside, and my dad sat with Molly and played for a while, which was lovely. It meant a lot - that’s the kind of thing the hospice does for you.

“They know what you’re going through and they give you time and space to deal with it, to burst into tears if you want to. I can’t put into words just how much it meant to us.”

John pauses.

“It feels like a strange thing to say, that we had such a positive experience when my dad was dying, but it was - every single person in the building was there for us. It really will always have a special place in our hearts.”

The Hospice Christmas Tree lights will be switched on at 4.30pm on Sunday, November 28. There is no need to book and the event is free to attend.

The carol service will be held at St Andrew’s Cathedral in Glasgow on Sunday, December 5, at 2.30pm. Visit the hospice website for tickets, or details on how to live-stream the service and to find out how to make a dedication.