A GOOD CITIZEN OF PRESTONPANS - ROBERT DONALDSON
I First met Rabbie at Lowes market garden in 1941. He was a happv-go-lucky
person, always cheery, always singing, cowboy songs were his favourite.
He was a very good and experienced gardener and I learned a lot
from him as did the other young boys who started at Lowe's.
During the 1939-45 war. agricultural workers were exempt from
the armed services. I know for a fact that Rabbie twice tried
to volunteer for the RAF but twice they refused him. sending him
back to work in the Market Garden.
At Rabbie's instigation, every dinner time we had a quick piece
then out with a ball and we played football for three quarters
of an hour. We were always able to do our work in the afternoon
even though a few were limping!
I left Lowe's in 1950 to go to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh
but I was to come into contact with Rabbie again in the 1960s,
this time on a committee for organising football for 15 year old
boys and under. It was to be a football league to take place during
the summer holidays. Tins would keep a numerous amount of boys
occupied. There were Jackic Wood. Wallyford. Michael Boyle and
myself. Prestonpans. but the driving force behind us was Rabbie.
He was mad keen to see that the boys got proper coaching in the
art of football. He got good referees for the games, booked the
parks and saw that the boys conducted themselves in a proper and
respectful way. All the youngsters had a tremendous respect for
Rabbie. He carried on training and coaching youngsters long after
the rest of us had given up. A great number of his proteges went
on to play professional football.
Rabbie was a Prestonpans man. full of passion for his locality.
This was proved beyond a doubt when in 1986. the local council
decided to have a Local History Week. The Council ran a competition
for locals to write about their memories of Prestonpans. There
was a very high standard of entry and Rabbles was judged the best
of all. "Six to Twelve years old", was his title and
I feel sure that occasion would be one of Rabbie's proudest moments
when he was presented with his winning pri/c by Councillor Tom
A final and fond memory of Rabbie, for me. was one evening in
1947. Roddy McDonald. the Boilerman at Lowe's. ran a Table football
league. This game was called Suhhuteo and it was eventually to
become popular world wide. There were about thirty of us in the
league and I met Rabbie in the final of the Scottish Cup. I was
Celtic. Rabbie was - You've Guessed! - Rangers. Rabbie had the
great ability to hype most things up and this final was no exception.
On the evening of the game which took place in a big shed at Lowe's.
there were about forty spectators in attendance. The place was
in a frenzy, the bets were flying all around!
The referee was Roddy McDonald, fifteen minutes each way. The
first half finished without a score. Five minutes break and the
second half started. After five minutes Rabbie scored a goal and
put Rangers one up. What did Rabbie do? Just what Rangers always
did at that time. He put up the Iron curtain - every player back
in defence! Needless to say the game finished. Rangers I - Celtic
0! A great time was had by all - we were all good sportsmen. These
are just a few of Rabbie's achievements. There were many, many