SCOTLAND'S football fans have a definite spring in their step after the memorable European Championship qualifying win over Spain – and now Tartan Army footsoldiers are to stage a marathon walk to remember a former Irvine member who died of cancer.

A 26-mile trek by 11 Scotland fans next month will see them coming down the road from Hampden Park in the south side of Glasgow to Irvine Meadow's ground in the town.

Their aim is to to celebrate the life of local man Mark Torrance, who died in 2015 at the age of 48 – and also to raise funds for the Ayrshire Hospice.

Mark was a regular member of the Tartan Army for almost 20 years and supported the team across Europe, including trips to Euro 96 in England and the 1998 World Cup in France.

However the oil industry engineer, from Bank Street, had to stop going to games after he was diagnosed with skin cancer in 2013.


Mark Torrance

Mark Torrance


Close friend and fellow Tartan Army member Andy Manson, 49, said: "Mark was renowned for his dry sense of humour.

"He also had an ability to sleep anywhere.

"Mark could regularly be found dormant in bars, floors and on one occasion crashing out overnight on a park bench in Helsinki, almost freezing to death.

"When he and his wife Alison started going out, he then took her on a date there and showed her the bench."

Andy says that the marathon walk will begin around dawn in Glasgow on May 6, and they hope to reach Meadow Park in the early afternoon.

Dundonian Andy, who works in marketing, added: "Mark also lived with Crohn’s disease for many years.

"In February 2013 he was diagnosed with cancer, due to his underlying condition.


Mark Torrance

Mark Torrance


"Mark was an amazing man. To the end he never complained about the hand life had dealt him or lost sight of what was important – his family and his friends."

Mark's Tartan Amy pals set an initial target of £1,000 in an online fund-raiser – but have already smashed that, reaching more than £1,600.

Andy added: "We are all avid Scotland fans, so doing the walk seemed like the right way to mark his memory.

"The aim is to start early on May 6 and make it to Meadow Park in time for the game against Auchinleck Talbot.

"We are looking to raise as much money as possible for the Ayrshire Hospice which, along with the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, was an amazing support to Mark and his family."

Mark's widow Alison Torrance, 55, added: “It was a privilege to be his friend, his partner and then his wife.


Mark Torrance and his family (Photo: Amy Vint)

Mark Torrance and his family (Photo: Amy Vint)


"They say the mark of a man is in the friends he keeps. For Mark’s friends to want to do this eight years on, to honour his memory by doing this walk in his name, is an incredible testament to the impact he had."

The couple were both born and brought up in Irvine. They had known each other since they were nine but only began going out in 2003.

Mark set up home with Alison and her twin daughters Elidh and Anne in Irvine four years later.

The couple then married in 2014 following his cancer diagnosis.

Mark died peacefully at home in Bank Street in July 2015, exactly a year after he was told his condition was terminal.

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