Dunbar blaze takes life of 'brilliant musician'
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Seumas 'Shamey' Cairns was a well-known local musician.
Mr Cairns' High Street flat in Dunbar was cordoned off after the blaze last Thursday morning.
THE close friend of a "brilliant" Dunbar musician who died following a fire at his home has revealed how one of his last text messages had read: "Why do all the bad things happen to the good people in the world?"
Seumas Cairns, 45, sadly passed away after being rescued by firefighters from a blaze in his High Street flat last Thursday morning.
Fifteen firefighters raced to the talented drummer's second-floor flat at 11am, following reports of smoke issuing from the building.
When crews from Dunbar, Haddington and East Linton arrived, they discovered a fire within the property where Mr Cairns - known to friends and family as 'Shamey' - was found unconscious and not breathing.
He was removed from the building by firefighters who began CPR and used a defibrillator on him before ambulance crews arrived.
Paramedics then took over CPR and took him to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, but Mr Cairns was pronounced dead a short time later.
Investigations into cause of the blaze were still ongoing this week, but Lothian and Borders Police confirmed that the incident was not being treated as suspicious.
A former Dunbar Grammar School pupil, Mr Cairns was a "dearly loved and loving son" to Gilbert and Sheon, siblings Gillian and Alasdair, and a "proud" uncle, great uncle, nephew and cousin. His family was said to be "heartbroken" and did not wish to be contacted.
Seumas's close friend and band-mate Grahame Smith, who had played with Mr Cairns in town group Setting Sons for almost a decade, remembered an "absolutely brilliant musician" who was popular throughout Dunbar.
Photographer Grahame, 46, who was in the same year at school as Mr Cairns, had last spoken to him a couple of weeks before his death.
Tragically, Seumas is the second member of the band's original line-up to die; in 2007, well-known Dunbar guitarist and postman Greig Hannan passed away aged just 40 following a battle with cancer.
Grahame told the Courier: "Shamey was extremely loving. He would send you a long text message every now and again, almost like a pick-me-up. It must have taken him ages to type them out, but he would always ask about you first.
"I was going back through my texts from him the other day. One of the last ones he sent said: 'Why do all the bad things happen to the good people in the world?' and then this happens. It's devastating."
Mr Cairns grew up in Dunbar and he started playing in bands as a hobby about 30 years ago. In 2003, he formed Setting Sons, along with Keith McCraw, Greig and Grahame.
The band went on to perform in a number of Scottish venues including Glasgow's Barrowland Ballroom - supporting Northern Irish punk band Stiff Little Fingers - and Edinburgh's Liquid Rooms. Setting Sons had its last gig in September at Dunbar's Rossborough Hotel.
"Everyone of all age groups knew of Seumas Cairns and how good he was on the drums," Grahame said.
"He was an extremely well-known and well-loved guy. He played in a lot of bands - even when he was in Setting Sons, he had a lot of other projects on the go."
It is understood Seumas had recently returned to college to study dentistry.
Grahame, the band's bassist, added: "When the news came out last week, it was a weird, surreal feeling. We were talking about getting things ready [in the band] for this year.
"I have nothing planned [in the way of a tribute] - a few folk have asked but I've not got to that stage yet.
"It would be harder this time. You can play without one of the guitars, but you can't do it without replacing the drummer.
"I'm kind of happy in my head that my last ever gig was with Seumas and that's where I might leave it."
A funeral service for Mr Cairns, to which all friends are invited, is taking place at Belhaven Parish Church today (Friday) at 10.30am, followed by interment at Deer Park Cemetery.
This article appeared in East Lothian Courier 05 Jul 12
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