TRIBUTES have been paid to social entrepreneur David Drysdale, the founder of Fathers Network Scotland, who has died aged 50.
Scotland’s Deputy First Minister John Swinney was among those to hail the work done by Mr Drysdale.
Mr Swinney said: “I was very sorry to hear of David’s passing and send my condolences to his family.
“David leaves behind a tremendous legacy. He has played a crucial role in championing the importance of dads in child development and family life.
“His dedication to this cause led him to set up Fathers Network Scotland and, more recently, to develop the idea for Year of the Dad.
“I’m delighted that the Scottish Government has been able to work with David, his colleagues at Fathers Network Scotland and a whole range of others to make Year of the Dad a reality.”
The Fathers Network Scotland also paid tribute to their founder in an online statement.
The organisation said: “We are deeply saddened to announce that David Drysdale, the much-loved social entrepreneur who founded Fathers Network Scotland and Year of the Dad, has died, aged 50.
“The father of two children - including a baby girl conceived only weeks before he was paralysed by a rare form of cancer – David was a popular and widely-respected campaigner, with a particular passion for men’s personal development and the role of dads in families.
“Diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma in March 2015, he underwent many months of chemotherapy which seemed to leave him clear of the initial tumour by early 2016, when he helped to launch Scotland’s Year of the Dad with the Scottish Government and dozens of partner organisations, “celebrating the difference a great dad can make”.
“However, a new scan later showed the disease had spread to his lung, where chemotherapy subsequently proved unsuccessful.”
He passed away at Marie Curie Hospice, Edinburgh, on Monday surrounded by his wife and family.”
The statement added: “Mr Drysdale set upon his own personal mission to support men’s development after the apparent suicides of two friends, which caused him to rethink his own life.
“Born in Cambridge, but raised in his father’s native Scotland from the age of eight, he studied Philosophy and Political Theory at Essex University before travelling the world as an actor for four years and later turning to multimedia design in a series of start-ups in London.
“A fanatical Hibernian fan, he was manager and player for London Hibs for four years.
“But it was his friends’ deaths and his own sense of being emotionally “stuck” which finally made him question the male stereotype of self-sufficiency in his forties, seeking better rites of passage to the sense of adulthood he said had always eluded him.
“An organisation called the Mankind Project – for which he worked as centre manager in Scotland for four years - proved one such catalyst to growth, giving him tools to help men understand and process their emotions and find their mission in the world.
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“The shock and delight of fatherhood proved another defining moment, when his son was born in Edinburgh in 2007. Determined to share hands-on parenting with his beloved wife, Misol, he experienced a bias against male carers which he saw as the flipside of the inequality women experienced in the workplace.
“Determined to do something about both at once, he gathered a group of concerned professionals together and Fathers Network Scotland was born in 2008.”