Connolly and Ferguson to pay tribute to Jimmy Reid

COMEDIAN, Billy Connolly, and Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, are both set to pay personal tributes to legendary Clydeside figure, Jimmy Reid, at a service to celebrate his life in Glasgow on Thursday.

Connolly, a former Clydeside shipyard worker, and Ferguson – who is one of Govan’s most famous sons and was brought up in the area along with Jimmy – are understood to have agreed to address the service after being approached by Reid’s family. Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, is also expected to attend.

It is being reported that a short service will be held in the United Church of Bute in Rothesay on Thursday at 10am, and a celebration of Jimmy’s life will follow at Govan Parish Church, Glasgow, at 1.30pm. A private cremation will follow later.

Workers’ champion, Reid – who worked extensively as a journalist and broadcaster, especially for The Herald, the Scottish Sun, The Scotsman and Grampian TV – died last Tuesday, aged 78, after a brief illness.

Meantime, his death has given new impetus to fundraising efforts to secure the public purchase of a painting which was unveiled at the People’s Palace in Glasgow three years ago to mark his 75th birthday.

The huge work – almost 9ft high by 5ft across – contains 65 historical figures in the background signifying the influences on and legacies of Reid’s life.

Valued at £45,000, it is still on loan until just under £10,000 is found to secure its future.

Fiona Hayes, social history curator at Glasgow Life, which runs the city’s museums and galleries, is widely quoted, saying: “We are very keen to have it for the collections because it is not just a tremendous portrait of Jimmy Reid but of his life and influences.

“The artist (Barry Atherton, assisted by his wife, Linda) had handled all this very cleverly so that it shows all aspects of him – trade unionist, journalist and family man.”