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Wife’s tribute to Dunfermline-born football coach and parkrun founder Paul Douglas, 65

Paul Douglas.
Paul Douglas.

Former Dunfermline District Council worker, parkrun founder, Inverurie Locos photographer, husband and father Paul Douglas has died aged 65.

Tributes have been paid to the Fifer who went on to adopt Aberdeenshire as his home and who served Inverurie tirelessly.

Early years

Born in Dunfermline on March 3, 1957 Paul Scott Douglas was the fourth of Jeremiah and Rose Douglas’ six children.

While Jerry worked as an upholsterer, Rose looked after Paul, his two brothers and three sisters.

He attended Commercial Primary in Dunfermline before moving on to Queen Anne High School.

Although he didn’t join a lot of clubs he was briefly a member of the Scouts. However, his only true interest was football and so he soon left.

Career path

At the end of his fifth year he moved on to Kirkcaldy Technical College to study business and accounting.

After three years studying between 17 and 20-years-old, and a flourishing passion for five-a-side football which remained with him for decades, he took some time off to travel.

He and his friend Brian bought European Interrail tickets and the adventure that followed was something Paul often spoke fondly of.

Although Paul worked in the Co-operative Bank in Dunfermline for a year, in 1978 his career truly began. It was the same year he turned 21 and he was offered a job with Dunfermline District Council finance department.

Falling in love

At Christmastime 1981, Paul was introduced to Gillian Gray.

A week later celebrating Hogmanay their paths crossed again and the pair started going out together.

By summer 1982, on the day of Gillian’s 20th birthday they got engaged.

“He asked me in a round about way,” Gillian explained.

“There was no grand gesture or anything like that. He just told me he loved me, and that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me.

Paul and Gillian Douglas.

“I said ‘yes’.”

On August 6, 1983 they exchanged vows in St Andrew’s Erskine Church in Dunfermline.

Gillian was a church member and between meeting and getting married that faith became important to Paul too.

A move north

Part of their life plan was to enjoy each other and their lives together before starting a new season as a family, Paul and Gillian enjoyed to travel.

In 1985 they moved to Inverurie when Paul got a job at what was then Gordon District Council.

They moved from Inverurie to Kintore in 1988 then after buying land relocated to Pitcaple in 1994.

The couple started a family welcoming sons Andrew and Matthew to the family in June 1994 and March 1997.

Gillian with Paul, on her graduation in 2010, with sons Matthew, left and Andrew.

For 13 years they raised their boys in the Aberdeenshire countryside as members of Inverurie West and Kintore churches.

When local authorities reorganised in 1996 Paul was promoted to support services manager at Aberdeenshire Council. However, in 2010 took early retirement at 53.

“It was completely his choosing but was too good an opportunity to miss,” said Gillian.


In 2007 the family moved back to Inverurie.

Paul, a lifelong Dunfermline Athletic fan, always loved watching and occasionally playing football. His son, Matthew, however, was a serious player from a young age.

So when Paul moved to Inverurie he got involved with Colony Park Boys (now Colony Park Football Club). Linking with his friend Dod Reid, together they looked after the Under-15s.

The club paid tribute to Paul on their social media accounts.

“We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former chairman and coach, Paul Douglas.

“Paul has been around the club, in one role or another from the very early days until only a few years ago and was a huge driving force and inspiration behind the growth of the club into the large community club that exists today.

“He was heavily involved with all aspects of football in Inverurie, not only with Colony Park Juveniles but also with Inverurie Locos and setting up Colony Park Juniors and leaves a lasting legacy. ”

Paul also helped at West Garioch FC.

Community involvement

When he retired in 2010 Paul started to develop a love of photography.

He became the photographer for the Locos at their home and away games, also covering corporate events.

Colony Park Football Club captured by Paul Douglas in 2017.

While he loved to capture sporting events he also had fun doing primary one school photos at times too.

He was a founding member of Garioch Sports Trust and when Gillian took up running, Paul joined in becoming a leader with Jog Scotland Meldrum.

This led to his belief that Inverurie should have its own Parkrun.


Gillian explained: “When Ury Riverside Park was being developed he just had a vision for those paths that he could see emerging, being used for a parkrun. It’s now been going for two-and-a-half years.”

Ury Riverside parkrun paid tribute to Paul on its website following a special run day moment of remembrance.

Paul Douglas and wife Gillian, pictured at the parkrun Paul founded.

“Yesterday we took the time to remember one of our parkrun community.

“Bryan, run director and co-event director yesterday led a tribute to his fellow co-event director, Paul who sadly passed away peacefully a few days ago after a short illness.

“Paul’s determination and enthusiasm ensured parkrun was coming to Inverurie.

“We ended the tribute with a round of applause to remember Paul. He will be looking down on us at all our events and cheering us on. Our thoughts and prayers are with Gillian, Matthew and Andrew.”

Final farewell

Paul and Gillian celebrated their 38th wedding anniversary in August.

In October he was dealt a devastating health diagnosis.

“I’m so glad he saw his 65th birthday,” said Gillian, “because it really was such a battle for him. He received a diagnosis at end of October but fought with such bravery.

“He was so selfless. His upset was about what he was putting the boys and I through.”

However, dealing with cancer meant leaning on his faith for comfort.

Running the race set before him: Paul Douglas whose faith inspired him during his final days.

“It just sort of kicked in [his faith] then. He said to me that he wasn’t afraid to die. That was a huge comfort to us.

“No one can ever fill his shoes but we will learn to adjust to this new life without him. Although that will be harder than it sounds.”

Paul passed away peacefully at Roxburghe House and a celebration of his life took place on Thursday, May 12 at Kintore Church.

Bring Me Sunshine, which was also played at his dad’s funeral, was played.

You can read the family’s announcement here.