Tributes have been paid after the sudden death of a legendary takeaway vendor who left his mark on revellers across Fife.
Gregor Maker’s Goldenfry snack van was a late-night destination for countless Fifers over the years, and was often found near the Promenade near Jackie O’s nightclub in Kirkcaldy.
The personal touch always came easy for Gregor, and he was known for being able to get along with anyone, having banter with customers, and also for taking the time to listen to those who might have needed an ear.
Chris Maker took over his dad’s van when he retired and now runs the Randolph Snack Bar at the industrial estate, but he will never forget what Gregor taught him.
He said: “When I started out at the van and I was a bit shy with all these drunk folk, he used to tell me ‘just talk to people like they’re your mates, give them the time of day and they’ll respect you for it’.
“Some places you would get your chips and your change thrown at you and that was it, no banter. But people came to us because we treated them like human beings.
“By the end of the night when everyone was away home, there was always someone sitting on their own. He’d take them over a cup of tea and make sure they were alright, and phone them a taxi if need be.
“We joked sometimes working in the van that sometimes we felt like agony aunts as we always heard people’s problems.
“He had a good ear for that, he was always there for people that had something on their mind.
“He would give anyone the time of day.”
There was always someone sitting on their own. He’d take them over a cup of tea and make sure they were alright
Chris said his dad was very easy to get along with.
“He was a big part of my life. He and my mum separated when I was young but they got on better separated than they ever did together.
“He was more like a mate – I could speak to him about stuff that I could talk to my mates at school about, and it was never awkward.
“He was a Sunday dad for a while, taking my sister and I up to the usual castles and Deep Sea World and things like that.”
Gregor started out as an apprentice agricultural engineer, but it didn’t work out for him, so he started working in pubs and doing security.
He worked the length and breadth of the country, at nightspots in Peterhead, Blackpool, and Burnley, and also ran the Lister Bar in Kirkcaldy.
Later Gregor moved into catering and eventually ended up running his own snack van, and a few years later Chris ended up following in his footsteps.
“I’d just left school and wasn’t quite sure what direction I was going in, so my dad said ‘how about working in the van with me until you figure out what you want to do? It’s better than being on the dole’.
“That was 20 years ago and I’m still doing it yet!”
Chris said his dad had made efforts to improve his health, a battle he appeared to be winning.
“He retired through ill health around two and a half years ago.
“He’d been ill for a while, he had a stroke a number of years ago but he got over that ok.
“He had various health problems but he was actually getting better. His mobility was improving, for a long time he couldn’t walk far without a stick, but all that changed when he retired because he had time to go to the gym and go swimming a couple of times a week.
“There’s no history of heart attacks in the family, it came out of the blue.
“It’s very strange not having him here. I feel like I’ve lost my best mate.”
Chris added that it was heartwarming to get so many messages of support after countless tributes online.
“He always said, ‘when it gets to my funeral, it’ll just be you, Catherine and Amanda, and two or three witnesses’.
“I just wish there was a way he could see it because I think it’s going to be a busy affair.”
And he never lost his sense of humour.
“He always said he wanted to be cremated, with a portion of the ashes mixed with cement and made into a garden gnome so the dog’s got something to pee on – that was his sense of humour.”
Gregor McGregor Maker died on Monday, September 9. He is survived by Chris, and his sisters Amanda, and Catherine-Ann.
His funeral will be held at on Friday, September 20, at 1.30pm at Kirkcaldy Crematorium, and all friends and acquaintances are invited.
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