A much-loved Ninewells security guard dearly wanted “one last night shift” before he died, according to his widow.
Dundee man Alexander ‘Stephen’ Buick passed away on Saturday September 14 after being diagnosed with cancer 18 months ago.
Stephen, who lived with Helen, his wife of 34 years, in Ancrum Drive, grew up in Broughty Ferry, attending Grove Academy.
The 56-year-old began working at Ninewells Hospital 12 years ago in the Tayside Pharmaceutical department, later becoming part of the security team where his calmness and affability made him a popular member of staff.
Helen said: “His job involved helping patients who may have been confused or upset and he was so good at it, taking people down for a cuppa and calming them down.
“He was also called to A&E a few times to help when police were dealing with an incident.
“He loved his job because he loved people and he was in amongst so many at Ninewells. He was a friendly person who would have done anything for anybody.”
Dundee United fan Stephen was forced to retire after being off work for a lengthy spell with chronic back pain.
“He was able to visit but was unable to work all the way through a shift,” recalled Helen, a former community nurse who took early retirement in December 2018 to spend more time with her husband.
“He just wanted one last night shift. He just wanted to go back for one more night so he could see everyone but he just couldn’t because of the pain.”
Susan Smith, a nurse practitioner with Ninewells’ night team, has set up a JustGiving page to fund a memorial for Stephen.
Her target of £300 was smashed within hours. As of Wednesday afternoon, £825 had been raised by 66 supporters. More is being raised in the Tayside Pharmaceutical Department.
It is hoped that enough money will be raised to pay for a bench and plaque in the grounds of Ninewells, subject to consent from the hospital.
Susan said: “Steve would pop into our office for a chat to ask how we all were and catch up on what was going on throughout the hospital.
“He spoke to everybody and was great with the patients. He had a really laid-back personality which was great when dealing with someone who was confused or anxious.
“Steve would usually be able to calm them down by just chatting to them. When Steve went off work, we always kept in touch and I went to visit him at home to see how he was.
“The last time I saw him, he said he would give anything to go back to work for one shift to see what was going on and catch up with everyone.
“How many folk love their jobs that much, eh?”
Stephen, who had been involved with the Dundee Boys Brigade for 17 years, was good friends with colleague Ricky Hamilton, currently employed in the Ninewells finance department having worked in the security team until September 2017.
The pair used to watch United matches at Tannadice as hospitality guests. “They were very close and worked brilliantly together. It really hasn’t been the same since they both left,” added Susan.
Stephen and Helen met at Dundee nightclub Fat Sam’s in 1984, marrying a year later. They have two children: Amy, 32, and Stewart, 26.
After Helen’s retirement they enjoyed plenty of day trips together, the last being the Dundee Flower and Food Festival on Saturday, September 7.
“I just feel sad he is not here but what a great life we had together. He was such a well-liked person,” said Helen.
“We are absolutely amazed that people have raised so much money, given he has been away from Ninewells for well over a year.”
Stephen’s funeral will be held in Dundee Crematorium at 1.30pm on Wednesday September 25, followed by a reception at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Kingsway West.