Oban will light up for Adrian

Adrian Beard.

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Oban will light up purple to carry on an awareness legacy left by pancreatic cancer fighter Adrian Beard MBE.

November will see McCaig’s Tower turn the colour of Pancreatic Cancer UK’s ribbon fulfilling one of the Connel dad-of-two’s last wishes.

The charity described the 50-year-old as an ‘incredible ambassador’ helping it to raise thousands of pounds of vital funds for research into the devastating disease just weeks before his death on September 10.

When PCUK launched the Big Step Forward 2021’s 24-hour walkathon, Adrian was its first choice to be the face of Team Scotland raising £43,413.

Team Oban, with virtual entrants joining its side from as far away as Australia and Norway, brought in a whopping £14,664.

Adrian Beard cheering on Team Oban at this year’s Big Step Forward 24-hour walkathon in aid of Pancreatic Cancer UK

PCUK’s Head of Scotland and Northern Ireland Dawn Crosby said Adrian had become ‘a well-kent face’ to everyone at the charity, becoming an important part of its work in Scotland over the last year.

‘Adrian’s passion for the cause was inspirational. He was so positive throughout and did everything he could to raise awareness and funds for this devastating cancer,’ she said, taking on his Team Scotland role with ‘gusto’, tirelessly encouraging people to join the event.

Dawn added: ‘I felt privileged to be invited to help kick off the 24-hour relay and could see first hand how special the community of Oban was.

‘Adrian was instrumental in the success of Team Oban. His support, enthusiasm and his honesty about his own situation gave even more meaning to its Big Step Forward walk this year.

‘We caught up regularly, and it was always great to hear from him, and just last week he asked me to make sure McCaig’s Tower in Oban is lit purple in pancreatic cancer awareness month in November, which I will gladly do.

‘Adrian made such a positive impact on everyone around him, and what a legacy he leaves.’

In total, this year’s Big Step Forward raised £256,083.71.

On Friday, the former cub leader and Group Scout leader with the 37th Argyll Scout Group’s wife Angela and sons Fergus, 14, and Finlay, 12, were joined by family and friends at Connel’s St Oran’s Church for his funeral. About 30 others stood outside to pay their respects.

Angela has thanked the community for helping her family get through.

‘We’re so, so proud of our amazing, brave, courageous and resilient husband and dad who never ever gave up his fight.

‘We wish to extend a huge thanks for the support, friendship and endless encouraging messages you have showered Adrian with over the past 18 months. It has really helped us as a family get through this,’ she said.

Adrian’s eulogy reflected his younger life, time in the army and since moving to Oban in 2011.

It was read by Stephen Bullock on behalf of his cousin Tim Beard in Australia, military pal Ian Summerville and friend Andy Newiss who, because Adrian was a gifted cartographer, concluded his part with a mapping analogy based on an online system called What3words, where the world is split into a grid system and each grid identified by three randomly generated words.

If asked to choose three words to describe Ady, they would be ‘positivity, inspiration and fun’, he said.

Speaking after the funeral, Adrian’s good friend Finlo Cottier paid this tribute: ‘Adrian was such a presence in the community, always positive, full of energy and vitality. Even during his illness there appeared to be no stopping him.

‘Alongside the sadness, I personally feel grateful for having shared those years of friendship with Adrian.

‘I suspect many others around Oban and further afield feel similarly. The positive contribution that Adrian made will be with us for many years.’

And Assistant Scout leader Susannah Hughes said: ”Pack, pack, pack!’ – Ady’s booming voice almost instantly brought order to a cacophony of cubs each week.

‘Elements of his varied military career popped up in many ways over the few years I worked with him in his role as Cub leader (Arkela).

‘He managed to achieve the delicate balance of never being ‘shouty’ but always bringing out people’s best, not just in the children but also the adults helping.

‘I can truly say it was a privilege to work and learn from Ady as we nurtured the children along their scouting journey.

‘And I can only hope Adrian’s eternal positivity, warmth and kindness are values I can remember to uphold as generously as he did.’

In the Queen’s 2000 birthday honours, Adrian received an MBE in the military awards. He was a sergeant in the Corps of Royal Engineers.

Despite pancreatic cancer’s low survival statistics, which have not changed for half a century, it only gets three per cent of the annual UK cancer research budget.

Pancreatic Cancer UK supports people affected by pancreatic cancer, funds research breakthroughs and campaigns for change.

Go online to pancreaticcancer.org.uk. You can also get support by calling its freephone on 0808 801 0707.