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Edinburgh Live
Edinburgh Live
Sian Traynor

Edinburgh war hero left with 'no money for food' after losing life savings

An Edinburgh community has rallied round an "amazing" local pensioner after he was left with none of his life savings.

Jimmy Welsh, 75, is known as a local hero in the capital, with the born-and-bred former soldier helping generations of families through his boxing and charitable work.

Formerly serving in the army, Jimmy then went onto found the Holyrood Boxing Gym, bringing hundreds of young people on "the wrong path" into its sporting family.

READ MORE - Edinburgh mum woke up from coma with no memory of her husband or children

Dedicating his life to the community, Jimmy was recently diagnosed with dementia, with ongoing issues surrounding his finances causing him to lose his £12,000 pension payout.

Now in a desperate bid to help the man who saved them, many across the city are rallying together to try and raise a fraction of the funds lost.

Speaking to Edinburgh Live, organiser David Barclay, 36, shared Jimmy has been 'like a father to him' after starting at the gym as a young boy.

He said: "Jimmy started the Holyrood Boxing Club in the 90s and at that time things like knife crime were at an all time high.

"I came from the Southside and I met Jimmy when I was 11-year-old, he took us all on everyone that came and we've all been like a family ever since.

"From the age of 11 he has been the only father figure I've ever known.

"Later on in life, during lockdown I started up Fight Back, a group as a way to help out people's physical and mental health when the gyms were shut, we were doing things outside and even attaching punch bags to goal posts and things.

"Jimmy got involved and backed me on how it important it was, then in the winter we had to stop because we couldn't find an indoor premises.

"During that time I lost my brother and my best friend within a week to suicide and it was Jimmy who said to me we need to start this back up and find a premises or this is going to keep happening to people. He was the one that managed to find the Granton Boxing Club and we've been there for over a year now.

"In the last few years Jimmy was diagnosed with dementia, but he finds that the best thing for him is to keep busy and keep helping out with things. He's the life and soul of everything and honestly the biggest character you'll ever meet."

In October, Jimmy had taken advice to take out a large £12,000 sum of his army pension, which he had been 'keeping for a rainy day.'

Hoped for it to cover his funeral costs and to support his loved ones after his death, David explained that ongoing issues with power of attorney and family disputes has left Jimmy with none of his life savings.

Now in a unique situation which has left him 'with pennies', the local community have launched a series of fundraisers to try and support their hero during the difficult time.

David added: "Jimmy was still working up until just a few years ago, he's worked all of his life and spent his time serving and fighting for his country, as well as helping and saving the lives of so many people in the community.

"There's a lot of kids that were really heading down the wrong path and he brought them all back, he really brought boxing back to Granton too and it's had such a big impact.

"Now he's living off literally nothing on his own and it's just heartbreaking. He doesn't ever miss a bill, but now he can't even really afford things like food.

"He is honestly the most amazing person and we want him to see just how important he really is."

Launching a fundraising page this week, David and others have set a first target of raising £2,000 for Jimmy, with many taking part in a walk from Edinburgh Airport to St James Quarter on May 14.

You can donate to Jimmy's fundraiser here.

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