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Emotional scenes as cancer patient Harry Thomason visits Knock of Crieff ‘one last time’

Harry Thomason enjoys the view from the Knock of Crieff. Image: Harry Thomason.
Harry Thomason enjoys the view from the Knock of Crieff. Image: Harry Thomason.

A Crieff stalwart with incurable cancer has enjoyed the view from his favourite spot in the world “one last time”.

Crieff Community Council chairman Harry Thomason is undergoing his second round of chemotherapy for cancer of the appendix that has spread to his lungs.

The tumours cannot be removed but Harry, 74, is determined to make the most of life and has made a bucket list of things he wants to experience.

First on the list was to go to the top of the Knock of Crieff, to where he has been too frail to hike because of his condition.

But staff from Action Glen generously responded to a request from Harry’s friend Tina McRorie and took him to the summit of the hill in one of their Land Rover vehicles.

It meant that Harry and friends could enjoy watching the world go by from the vantage of his favourite spot.

The view from the Knock of Crieff.

Tina said: “He had a bucket list to go to the top of the Knock of Crieff one last time.

“It was quite emotional and was amazing to just sit there, take in the view and peace and quiet and spend some time with him.

“The day was just perfect. Filled with peace and beautiful views.

“He has done so much for the town that it was nice to give something back to him.”

‘If people need something they come to Harry’

Harry has lived in Crieff his whole life, attending both the town’s primary and secondary schools before farming in the local area.

For the past four years he has chaired the town’s community council where he has dealt with potholes, fought for a 20mph sign outside the high school, and managed to get grit bins and traffic lights installed.

“If people need something doing they come to Harry,” Tina said.

Tina at the Crieff Community Foodbank. Picture: Kenny Smith.

‘It was my favourite place’

On Friday, July 15 the roles were reversed as Harry and Tina were taken to the top of the Knock by Matthew Munro from Action Glen, the activity centre adjoining Crieff Hydro.

They took it all in for two hours before Matthew returned to collect them.

Harry Thomason with Matthew Munro from Action Glen.

“I have cancer so wouldn’t be able to walk up there but unknown to me a group of friends arranged for me to go up,” Harry said.

“I could never have walked it, that’s for sure.

“It was my favourite place when I used to be able to go up there, which was quite often.

“It is quiet and you have plenty of views to look round. You can look up to the Turret Dam and you have views over Crieff as well.

“I am very, very appreciative of the people who helped me come up here.”

‘They’re going to have to carry me out’

Harry’s response to being diagnosed with cancer a year ago has been to do more, rather than less.

His modest bucket list also includes a day out in Oban and a trip to Comrie Croft, which will take place later in July with friends including Tina and Rev Genevieve Evans, the rector for Strathearn Episcopal Churches.

He additionally volunteers at Crieff Connexions three days a week and has no plans to step down from his role on the community council.

Harry at the summit of the Knock.

“They’re going to have to carry me out,” Harry joked. “I plan to stay on as long as they will have me.

“The cancer┬áhas given me a bit of life to look forward to.

“When some folk have cancer they just crawl into their bed and stay there.

“But no, I am out and about talking to people as much as I can.”

‘I am not going yet, like’

Cancer has cast more than one shadow over Harry in the past year.

Two months ago his former wife of 13 years Elizabeth McCulloch passed away from the disease at the age of 73.

“We were divorced but still met with each other,” he said.

Harry Thomason is the chairman of Crieff Community Council.

Harry is being supported by his sons Brian, 43, and Michael, 46, who live with him in Crieff.

His daughter Elizabeth, 41, is a married mother of two sons who resides in California, near Falkirk.

He has three further rounds of chemotherapy scheduled at Perth Royal Infirmary.

Harry said: “I suppose it is terminal because you will never be rid of it but they are slowing it down so they can keep an eye on it and the nurses in oncology are very good. They are very friendly.

“I am not going yet, like. No, no, no.”

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