Former Scottish Parliament presiding officer Tricia Marwick has hailed the kindness of strangers for helping her discover how her grandfather died .
For decades, all Tricia and the rest of her family knew was her grandad Thomas Lynch was killed following an accident in one of Fife’s many pits.
The exact circumstances of his death were a mystery and the relatives were unable to find his grave.
But thanks to a bit of detective work and a response to a post on Twitter, they have discovered details about his untimely death at the age of 34 and where he is buried.
Tricia said the revelation has allowed the family to erect a refurbished headstone and will enable them to have her grandfather’s name added to mining memorials, 72 years after his death.
“It’s amazing,” she said.
“My mum always said my grandad had been killed in the pit but she had such a horrendous life after he died that she never spoke about him.
“When my mum died we tried to find out more information about him but we couldn’t find anything.”
Because her family hails from Cowdenbeath, Tricia and her sisters had been searching pit records from that area but kept drawing a blank.
A decision to draw on records from earlier in the century led to the discovery of a death certificate and the news that Thomas Lynch had died in Randolph Wemyss Memorial Hospital in Buckhaven on April 13 1936 at the age of just 34.
“It turned out he had been working at the Michael Colliery in East Wemyss and was actually living in Methilhill at the time,” said Tricia.
The family then tried to locate his burial place and Tricia’s sister, Fife SNP councillor Alice McGarry enlisted the help of the council’s bereavement services.
“They discovered he was buried in Kirk of Beath in Cowdenbeath and not only that, they found an old stone two feet away from it that had been erected by his fellow workers at the Michael,” said Tricia.
“We got the stone restored and put a picture of it on Facebook and Twitter but we still didn’t know what had happened to him.”
Someone who spotted the post then sent Tricia a copy of a cutting from a newspaper outlining details of an inquiry into her grandfather’s death.
“We had been hunting for that for years and it was only through the kindness of a stranger that we got it,” she said.
“Now we can prove he died as a result of a pit accident and we can get his name on memorial records. It means so much to us as a family.”