TRIBUTES have been paid to a father-of-two and long-serving youth football coach who died suddenly at his Musselburgh home on Saturday, aged 54.
Gordon Mealyou, a lifelong Hibernian FC supporter and also an academy coach with the Edinburgh side, has helped nurture footballing talent in the county for more than a decade.
His wife Doreen led the tributes to Mr Mealyou, who worked for the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) and was father to Leona, 24, and 21-year-old Robbie.
She said: “Apart from all the amazing tributes and the fact Gordon has touched so many lives, I don’t want anybody to forget what a fantastic family man he was.
“He was a devoted husband, a devoted dad and he was proud of his family’s achievements.
“I just want to say that the magic that Gordon was able to spread to so many people in such different ways was testament to the man and that man was a good, honest man, who thought in life you reaped what you sowed.
“His philosophy was if you are a good person, good things happen.
“Tragically for us, as a family we are left bereft at the loss of someone who was such a mentor, reliable, honest, hard-working and threw his heart and soul into every single aspect of what he did in his life.”
His family said that Mr Mealyou had always been a Hibs fan and becoming involved with the club as a coach at the side’s youth academy was “a boyhood dream”.
Mr Mealyou had been due to set off to the first-team’s match with Queen of the South on Saturday afternoon when he died.
Hibernian FC chairman Rod Petrie said: “Gordon served the club as a coach in our academy since 2006.
“He worked with all age groups and was this season a coach with our U15s and U17s.
“Our thoughts are with his wife, family and friends.
“Everyone at the club has been shocked and saddened at this news.”
Mr Mealyou had played for Musselburgh Windsor in the 1970s and had been a Windsor coach before joining Hibs.
Scott Robertson, former Windsor president, said: “I have known Gordon for quite some time through the football and just personally.
“He didn’t smoke, he didn’t drink and he would sit and have an orange juice or a Coke when we were having a couple of pints of lager.
“He was active through football and walked his dog and was a healthy, active, happy guy – it was completely out of the blue.
“He was such a likeable man. We’re all so shocked.”
Dunbar and East Linton councillor Paul McLennan is also a youth football coach at the Easter Road side.
He said: “He was a good coach but more importantly a good friend and a good guy. We will miss him.”
The councillor told the Courier he and Mr Mealyou had coached the under-14s together last season.
He added: “There are 10 to 15 youth coaches at Hibs and it is a close-knit bunch of guys and we have all been pretty much affected by it.
“It is really sad and he was only 54.
“I spoke to him a few days ago and, as I say, it is a close knit bunch of guys.
“I’m up there three nights a week and we all see each other.”
Hibs midfielder Danny Handling, who is from Haddington, took to social media and said: “RIP Melly, truly gutted… pleasure to have met you.”