'Hearing about close friend's road death will haunt me forever' - Mark Stewart organising charity rugby match in memory of tragic pal Stewart Ramsay
Mark Stewart told the Southern Reporter that the Earlston v Rambo Select friendly on Saturday, August 13 would pay tribute to Ramsay, who played wing and number six for Earlston for six years before perishing when his silver Ford Fusion car left the A68 near St Boswells nearly six months ago.
Stewart added: "Hearing about the car crash was probably one of the hardest moments I’ve ever had in my life.
"To get the phonecall about half past midnight from his dad (Ally), then to miss the call and to wake up at half five in the morning to a message from his girlfriend (Steph) asking to phone her, you know that something severe has happened.
"And to phone back and get that news is something that will live with me for the rest of my life. It’s hellish.
“Stewart also left his two children Grace and Ava, who are only four and one.
"I think that’s been the hardest thing. I went down on the Sunday after Stewart passed away and his little four-year-old turned to me and said that her daddy was never coming home, he was an angel.
"That’s words that will stick with me forever, it’s brutal.
"And that’s why I said right away that I was going to organise a memorial game at some point down the line.
“Even if it just helps us all get through the grief together by doing this it will be very beneficial.
"If we can see a smile on those two little children’s faces for even five minutes on a bouncy castle, that’s the day made for me.
“Rambo was Stewart’s nickname. I will captain the Rambo Select team in this friendly on August 13.
"We will have a few older players like Euan Scott and Scott Raeburn from Jedburgh and a couple of old Melrose stalwarts, Alistair Fairbairn and Grant Gibson, in the squad.”
Stewart, a 30-year-old long distance lorry driver who lives in Galashiels, said that he had been a good friend of Ramsay – an ex-butcher shop and farm worker who lived in Denholm having been raised in Bedrule – for years.
"I’d known him roughly before he started playing for Earlston,” he added.
"From then our friendship just blossomed and I ended up getting really close to him and his family.
"I play number eight so I played with Stewart in the back row.
"I would say that his family are more like a second family now. I’m very, very close to his mum and dad and me and my wife Anna are very, very close to Steph.
"Stewart was a loveable, friendly fellow who would do anything for you.
"If you phoned him to do something for you he’d be there within an hour. He would bend over backwards to help you.
"His biggest thing in life was his family. He absolutely adored his dad and would do anything to help him, his mum as well.”
All are welcome to attend the charity day at Earlston Rugby Club, with donations of any size welcomed.
Pre-match hospitality will see 25 of Stewart’s family members and friends gather in the clubhouse from 1pm.
The match will kick-off at 3pm, on a day which will also feature a charity auction, bouncy castle, birds of prey, ice-cream van, burger van and singer George Inglis – who has donated his time for nothing – performing live from 5.30 to 7pm.
"Collectors will be walking about with charity buckets so people can give what they want to,” Stewart said.
"So people can see a good game of rugby for a pound, with the money going towards the two charities.”
Stewart also thanked everyone who has provided auction prizes for being so generous.
And he revealed that the auction lots will be disclosed online from Saturday, July 30, on the Earlston Sevens Facebook page.
A JustGiving fundraiser has help ed Ramsay’s family.