A LOCHGELLY mother has paid tribute to her "Braveheart" son who died last Thursday.

Peter Baird, 55, who was paralysed after a swimming accident in Majorca in 1988, passed away after a long battle with illness.

He had been on holiday when he broke his neck and, in the years that followed, the people of Lochgelly and further afield raised thousands of pounds raised to help him live his life.

His mother, Mae Sutherland, told the Times: "There's no way Peter would have been here 30 years on without the very good care of family and the excellent carers he's had.

"He used to say he didn't look on them as his carers, but as his friends because of all the things they did for him.

"I don't know where he got his courage from, I've nothing but admiration for him.

"Anyone that knew Peter said he was an inspiration.

"Braveheart, that says it all. He was my Braveheart."

Peter, of Greig Place, attended Lochgelly South Primary School and Auchterderran High School before becoming an apprentice joiner at Rosyth Dockyard.

His mum said: "He was a big lad, 6 ft 4, and loved Dunfermline Athletic and golf.

"He played all the time. In the summer months he'd even go and play golf before going to work at the dockyard.

"He met Seve Ballesteros at St Andrews and had a signed photo – Seve was his hero – and he had a mortgage out, not even a couple of years, at a house on the corner next to the golf course.

"Then he had his accident in Majorca. He was 25 at that time.

"He came home by air ambulance, with a doctor and a nurse, and he was taken to the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh.

"Peter was paralysed from the neck down, he couldn't use his hands or anything.

"It would have been 30 years next month."

The accident happened on October 6, 1988, when he was on a 10 day holiday on the Spanish island, and his life changed forever.

Peter was a popular member of Lochgelly Golf Club and a fund was set up to help raise money to support him.

Mrs Sutherland said: "I'd like to say how grateful me, Davie and the family are for all the efforts and the money raised by the public to get his van and other essential equipment.

"Thousands of pounds were raised from the people of the town, and from outwith Lochgelly, and I can't tell you just how much we appreciated that support.

"It was incredible."

She continued: "He watched a lot of sport and loved his music – but he'd say he wouldn't listen to the rubbish they play today.

"He was still laughing and joking and was very kind and caring.

"He did two charity events himself, one to raise money for Spinal Injuries Scotland and another when he heard about a man who slipped next to a paddling pool and suffered similar injuries to him.

"When he found out the man was also blind he said 'I can't imagine that, I'll see if I can get something on at the golf club to help out.'

"That was the kind of caring person he was."

Peter's funeral service will take place at the Salvation Army Hall, Auchterderran Road, Lochgelly, on Thursday (today) at 1.15pm and then at Lochgelly Cemetery at 2pm to which all relatives and friends are invited.