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Badenoch and Strathspey tragedies: statement from Kingussie Camanachd

By Tom Ramage

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Following the tragic deaths of two young strath men this weekend – one of 20 and one of 17 – Kingussie Camanachd Club has shared its sympathy with the families of both.

A statement this evening confirms: "This has been the darkest of weekends for all of our communities in Badenoch and Strathspey.

"The passing of two young people in totally separate and unrelated events has shaken us all to the core and left us unable to comprehend.

A floral tribute to the Newtonmore teenager who died at Kingussie playpark
A floral tribute to the Newtonmore teenager who died at Kingussie playpark

"Our thoughts and love are with our friends in Newtonmore and especially with the young man’s family."

The club paid tribute to its young star Calum MacKintosh who suddenly passed away from suspected heart failure yesterday (Saturday) in Edinburgh, a day after the tragic death of the teenager in a Kingussie playpark.

"Calum MacKintosh was born in March 2004 and attended Carrbridge Primary School and Grantown Grammar School," the shinty club posted.

"His mum Ann is a teacher at Grantown Grammar and his dad Iain a teacher at Kingussie High. He has two brothers Alan and Ewan.

"Although Cal was naturally gifted academically and on the sports field, his teachers tell of how hard working he was and that he always strived to do his best.

"He was Dux of Grantown Grammar in 2021 and was in his second year of a law course at Napier University, Edinburgh. His determination and character shone through in all parts of his life but despite these successes, what stood out most about Cal was his kindness, his friendliness, his care of others and above all his huge sense of fun and love of life. He was great company, a role model and one of life’s genuinely nice people."

In memory of Cal: a floral tribute has been set up in the centre circle at The Dell. Picture: Aidan Woods
In memory of Cal: a floral tribute has been set up in the centre circle at The Dell. Picture: Aidan Woods

Just a few weeks ago the club had mourned one of its all time greats after the passing of Donnie Grant. Part of his funeral was a lap of honour of The Dell with a player’s guard of honour.

"All past and present players were asked to attend but it was a week day and perfectly understandable if some who worked or studied outside the area couldn’t make it. But Cal Mac was there, up the road from Edinburgh, suited and booted in club blazer and tie and in the line up for Donnie.

"Last month when the Primary 6’s tournament was on at The Dell all senior players were asked to ref. Refereeing kid’s games on a Sunday morning is probably not that attractive a thought for young 1st team players. But Cal Mac was there and reffed all day, encouraging and having the craic with the kids.

"Calum just knew what the ‘right thing’ was in all situations."

Star: attacking midfielder Calum MacKintosh
Star: attacking midfielder Calum MacKintosh

He had joined the club at Under-14 level along with a few of his friends from Grantown Grammar and was in the team which won the Macmaster Cup. He had progressed to the Under-17’s, picking up a Mactavish juvenile winners medal, and then 2nd team.

"In 2022 Cal returned to Strathspey Camanachd for a season before rejoining Kingussie at the start of this year. In all honesty most of us thought he would play in the second team for a couple of seasons before pushing for a first team place, but Cal had other ideas.

"A string of outstanding performances had him knocking on the first team door and by mid season he was a fixture in the team with a series of rampaging performances at wing centre and in the forward line. A part of the squad for the Mactavish final, he scored in the Macaulay final and started the Camanachd final at wing centre. He also picked up his first Premiership and Macpherson trophy medal on the last day of the season a couple of weeks ago.

"When the Kingussie coaches met a few weeks ago to decide on the player awards for this season the Young Player Of The Year award was a no contest – Cal Mac got every vote and was due to receive it a week on Saturday at the awards night."

The statement, which can be read in full on the club's Facebook page, ends:

"We love you Cal Mac. We will never understand how this could happen but whatever this team and this club does in the future we will carry you with us. Forever a boy of The Dell."

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