Tributes after East Neuk man’s sudden death

Michael Braid with his sister Dawn outside her caf� in Arboleas, Almeria, Spain.
Michael Braid with his sister Dawn outside her caf� in Arboleas, Almeria, Spain.

Family, friends and colleagues are travelling from several countries to pay respects to East Neuk man Michael Braid, who died suddenly in Nigeria after apparently choking on food.

Michael, of Colinsburgh, had worked in the African country for the last couple of years with Nigerdock, a large firm specialising in oil and gas construction and major marine services.

He was having a lunch break at the company’s off-shore construction site, Snake Island, when he seemingly choked on a piece of food.

Paying tribute to a “very helpful” person, his father, Jim Braid, said Michael’s death had come as a shock to relatives and friends.

Michael (51), grandson of the veteran former St Monans councillor Jimmy Braid, was in his quarters on January 18 when a housemaid, who was ironing in another room, heard him suffer a violent coughing fit, then a thud. After finding him collapsed on the floor, she called medics, whose efforts to save him were sadly in vain.

Jim said he had been told fatal asphyxia followed by a heart attack had caused his son’s death, but it would have been over in seconds and he did not suffer.

Michael was diabetic and had suffered stomach problems in the past, but they did not affect his work, added his dad.

Michael spent the early part of his life in Brisbane, Australia, before coming back to Fife and attending Waid Academy.

He ran a mobile fish business, covering much of Scotland, and later co-founded the firm B&C Structures, which specialised in constructing farm buildings.

Around two years ago, he headed to Africa to work as a rigging superintendent with Nigerdock and, according to his dad, he had hoped to stay out there for as long as possible.

“He was very fond of travelling and he loved his job. He was a grafter – you could not fault him work-wise,” said Jim.

“He was no saint, but he was a very caring person. If there’s a legacy for Michael, we would say he was very caring and helpful. Anyone he came into contact with, if they had problems, he was always ready to help them, and lots of people have said this.”

Michael had also been due to come home soon on leave for a few days, then head to Spain, where his sister Dawn and mum Theresa live.

They were travelling to Fife for the funeral this weekend, while one of Michael’s sons is making the journey from Australia, and a number of friends are coming from France.

Colleagues from Nigeria were intending to make the trip as well, said Jim, and the company had been very helpful with arrangements to have Michael’s body brought back from the capital, Lagos.

Jim added he was grateful for the many messages of sympathy he had received.

Michael’s funeral will be held at St Monans Parish Church this Saturday at 10.15am.

As well as his parents and sister, he is survived by his sons Gareth and Paul.