Tributes have been paid to a popular Aberdeen runner and charity volunteer who died after suffering a brain injury.
Kind-hearted Grant Allan was well-known throughout Aberdeen due to his work with the less fortunate – including helping hand out meals at foodbanks and helping disabled people climb a mountain.
The 34-year-old was out with friends at the Exodus nightclub on Belmont Street at the start of September when he suffered a fall and was taken to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
He was cared for by medical staff in the intensive-care unit but lost consciousness towards the end of October and sadly died on Sunday.
Friends and family have described Grant as a tremendously upbeat person bursting with positivity.
His mother, Lorna, told the Evening Express: “We are all extremely sad, though it is some consolation to hear that so many people who knew Grant have said so many wonderful things about him.”
Grant was born deaf and as a child went to Sunnybank Primary School and Linksfield Academy, which both had centres for pupils with hearing impairments at the time.
He then studied outdoor pursuits at Aberdeen College and also went on the Journey of a Lifetime programme in which he joined disabled children on a trek in Chile.
“It was that which gave him his wanderlust,” said Lorna, “he loved to travel.”
Grant went to Canada to learn how to snowboard in the hope of becoming an instructor, and he also went to Chile to take part in a charity walk, in which he helped push people in wheelchairs up a mountain.
Lorna said: “Whether it was at a shop or charity or just helping people with their shopping or look after their pets, Grant was always happy to help people. He was always a very positive influence.”
In 2014, Grant read about a Tough Mudder obstacle course and trained for it, developing his passion for running.
He joined Metro Aberdeen Running Club and became a popular runner and volunteer.
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Grant’s life was turned around last October when he was given a cochlear implant allowing him to hear.
His half-sister Mhairi Allan said: “This made a huge impact on his quality of life and it was a joy when he heard my voice for the first time clearly.
“My brother was warm, compassionate, funny and a unique individual and I shall miss him so very much, and I know many people will miss him as he made a huge impact on everyone he came into contact with.
“I’ve learned so much from him about embracing life despite all its pain and setbacks.”
As an adult, Grant returned to Aberdeen College to do an HND course in graphic design, and embraced his love of art by volunteering at Peacock Visual Arts.
The centre’s education and communities co-ordinator Ane Smith said: “Grant was an exceptionally kind and hardworking individual who was a great pleasure to be around.
“He volunteered his spare time to help us at almost every event we have held over the last two years and constantly went above and beyond what was asked of him.
“His generous and irrepressible nature will be sorely missed. We are lucky to have met him and to have called him a friend.”
Grant also helped deliver food to foodbanks across the north-east on behalf of Community Food Initiatives North East (CFINE).
CFINE’s quality produce assurance manager Donald Ross said: “I would drive the van and Grant would come with me to hand out the boxes.
“He would do anything to help anyone. He was very fit due to his running and an extremely humble person. It is such a sad loss for us, for his family and for the entire community of Aberdeen.”
Grant received a lot of help from North East Sensory Services and also volunteered with Rosie’s Cafe – a social enterprise that gives work experience to people with challenges getting into work.
He also helped at Momentum, which helps people with brain injuries.
Lorna said: “Grant never wanted to be idle, and I think that’s what inspired him to join in with so many groups. He is an inspiration to many.”
She added: “We had heard he was at Exodus and suffered a fall, but we don’t know much more about what happened.
“He spent time in ARI and picked up an infection. At times it appeared his condition was improving and then it would get worse.
“The last time I saw him conscious, towards the end of October, he made the sign language sign to me to say ‘I love you’.
“Even when he was in the toughest of situations, he would always see the positives.
“The care he had at ARI was impeccable. The nurses there were brilliant.
“It got to a stage where the doctors said that there was not much more they could do for him without putting him through a lot, which is heartbreaking.
“I think if he wasn’t so fit and strong, he probably would have passed away earlier.”
Metro Aberdeen Running Club committee member Chris Richardson said: “Grant was much loved in the club and the tributes that have been made show just how much he meant to everyone.
“He joined us in March 2016 and soon became a regular at training, races and social events. This year was a year of improvement for Grant – running 5km in 20 minutes and steadily improving over a series of local summer half marathons on the back of perhaps his most consistent block of training.
“A week before his accident Grant ran a personal best at the Great Aberdeen Half Marathon.
“Nobody expected that would be his last.”
He added: “Grant is in the rare position of having volunteered at Park Run almost as often as he has run – 34 and 38 times respectively.
“Grant will be missed not just by Metro but by the wider running community.”
Grant leaves Lorna, half-brother John, half-sisters Mhairi, Morag, Shona and Catriona, uncle Rod and auntie Ann.