I am the luckiest man in Tollcross

A GREAT-GRANDFATHER told today how he felt "lucky to be alive" after being knocked to the ground when a large chunk of masonry fell from a city rooftop.

David Hay, 69, was sent sprawling when the concrete block hit him on the shoulder after falling 45ft from a tenement chimney stack.

The dazed pensioner managed to crawl to the side of the building, to avoid being hit by any more falling stonework, before concerned shop staff called an ambulance.

He was left badly bruised after the incident in Home Street near his sheltered housing complex in Tollcross.

The retired baker believes he was inches away from death as the masonry would have killed him if it hit him on the head.

He said: "I had been at the shops to get my messages and was walking back along the road. Suddenly, something heavy struck me in the shoulder and arm. I thought the sky was falling in.

"I was knocked to my knees on the pavement and saw my shopping go flying in front of me. I could see bits of the masonry scatter onto the street.

"I was in a daze but I crawled the side of the wall and hung on to the drainpipe because I didn't know if anything else was falling."

Staff from nearby shops ran to My Hay's aid and called for an ambulance.

Mr Hay added: "The doctors treated my arm, which was swelling up quite badly by then. Then I was walking to the toilet and I collapsed again to my knees. If must've been the shock. That was when the doctors decided to scan my head and heart. But I was able to leave a few hours later."

Mr Hay, who worked as a baker and a security officer with the Scottish Office at St Andrew's House before his retirement, lives in Gillespie Crescent with his wife, Janet, 74, a retired care home worker. The couple have two grand-children and three great-grandchildren.

He said: "I think I'm lucky to be alive. I feel like the luckiest man in Tollcross because if the masonry had hit me in the head, I think my number would have been up.

"I don't know how much masonry fell, but it was enough to knock me to my knees. If it had hit my head instead, I don't think I would still be standing here today."

Firefighters were called to the scene following the masonry fall, and the road was closed off while the crew made the chimney safe.

There have been a series of masonry falls from the Capital's historic buildings in recent years.

In 2000, Australian waitress Christine Foster was killed at Ryan's Bar, in the West End, after being struck by masonry.

A city council spokesman said: "In light of this incident, we will be contacting the owners of the property to discuss what happened and ensure it is safe."

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