A beloved Perthshire binman who died of coronavirus tried to protect himself on his rounds using hundreds of pounds worth of cleaning equipment bought by his wife.
Scott Hunter passed away, surrounded by his family, after an 18-day battle in Ninewells Hospital’s intensive care unit.
The 52-year-old, who had worked at the North Forr centre in Crieff for nearly 30 years, was described by his heartbroken family as “the best dad and papa.”
Locals said they will honour the grandfather-of-two’s memory by tying black ribbons, messages and decorations to their wheelie bins when they are put out for kerbside collection on Thursday morning.
It has now emerged that a complaint was made by a whistle-blower at the Crieff centre as far back as August last year.
Speaking from the couple’s home in Auchterarder, Scott’s wife Fiona said: “It’s been such a shock. It all happened so quickly.”
She said: “He just loved his job. A lot of kids would watch out for him at their windows, and wave to him as he drove past.
“Sometimes he would give them a wee lift in his lorry, just along the street.”
She described how her her husband tried to keep himself protected while working during lockdown. “I have a cleaning company, and I had to buy him hundreds of pounds worth of cleaning stuff,” she said. “He used to take that with him in his lorry. He just wanted to stay as safe as he could.”
Originally from Kelty, Scott worked in supermarkets in Crieff before taking on the role as manager at RS McColl’s newsagent.
He began work on the bin lorries in the mid-1990s. Three years ago, Fiona took over the popular Pretoria Bar in the centre of Crieff.
“He really loved that,” she said. “He loved being behind the bar, chatting to folk.”
Scott was struck with the virus at New Year. A co-worker at the Crieff depot also fell ill around the same time, as three other staff went into isolation.
Local SNP councillor Stewart Donaldson said concerns about PPE and deep cleaning at the centre were raised to him in early January.
“I was also sent, anonymously, issues that had been raised by employees under the council’s whistleblowing policy back in August and September last year,” he said. “These related to the provision and quality of PPE, the cleaning of all vehicles and the yard inside, also the fact there were at times three in a lorry.”
Mr Donaldson has now asked for further assurances that all necessary protocols at Crieff are being followed and that staff safety is protected.
A spokesman for Perth and Kinross Council, who described Scott as a “valued colleague,” said: “Our thoughts are with Scott’s family at this time.
“We would like to reassure staff their health, safety and wellbeing is our priority. We have robust measures in place to guard against the spread of Covid-19 while workers carry out vital essential services.”
He said: “These measures are regularly reviewed by managers and fully meet all Scottish Government guidelines. Whenever staff raise concerns with us we will address them directly to provide ongoing reassurance.”
The council said it would respond directly to Mr Donaldson.