By: Hibernian Media on 17 Sep, 2019 14:22
We were privileged to welcome Rena Gardiner and her family ‘home’ to Easter Road.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as Rena told the story of proud Hibee and Leither, Alex.
The pair emigrated to New Zealand and then settled in Australia, but their love of the club and the area that shaped them never diminished.
Needless to say that was passed on through the generations.
Daughter Rachel learned all about the Famous Five and Pat Stanton and, in turn, her own daughters – Maddy and Ava – were gripped by Grandad’s every word.
Whether it was staying up to the wee small hours to watch his heroes live from the other side of the world, filling the family home with every bit of merchandise or memorabilia going or shaking the hand of any Hibee he stumbled across on his travels, Alex never let himself become a stranger from his team.
Married for 54 years, Alex and Rena had planned on taking grandchildren Maddy and Ava to Scotland for the first time this week, along with doting daughter Rachel.
Top of his agenda was a trip to Easter Road so the girls could walk in his footsteps and help bring all those stories of his to life.
Sadly, Alex passed away unexpectedly last year before he could turn that dream into a reality.
Undeterred, Rena, Rachel, Maddy and Ava – nicknamed ‘Crackerjack One’ and ‘Crackerjack Two’ by their proud grandad – made the long trek in his honour.
After all, there were two last wishes to fulfil.
Alex’s ashes were scattered at Edinburgh Castle in a poignant family service last Thursday.
And there was the small matter of Maddy and Ava visiting Alex’s home from home at Easter Road.
We were only too happy to show the family around the stadium and make sure Crackerjack One and Crackerjack Two were kitted out in the latest home strip.
They’ll need them as our guests at Sunday’s Edinburgh Derby.
Executive Chairman Ron Gordon kicked off the tour and was blown away by Rena’s encyclopaedic knowledge of the Hibees and touched by her tales of Alex – which so many will be able to relate to.
Rena was good enough to share her memories of Alex with Hibs TV and you can watch her story here.
Alex’s memory marches on.