Tributes have poured in for former Hibs New Media Manager Stuart Crowther who was laid to rest, surrounded by family and friends in Lossiemouth today.
Stuart, a current season ticket holder, passed away recently just shy of his 66th birthday after a short illness.
First and foremost a supporter of the club, Stuart had the vision to embrace the fast-changing digital landscape and paint it green and white.
He was a driving force behind The Absolutely Non-Essential Hibernian Supporters Handbook fanzine, The Hibs List – an email mailing list that’s now commonplace but was a progressive step at the time – and the International Hibs Supporters Club.
Stuart is also the man responsible for popular forum hibs.net – which has not only fundraised for the club in the past but also offered fans somewhere to share their elation and frustration alike over the years.
It’s a platform that’s become an integral part of the supporter experience for so many.
Beyond that, Stuart played a key role in the establishment of Hibs TV, which today helps connect thousands of Hibees all over the world – near or far to Easter Road – with the latest happenings at their beloved club.
The Hibs media team grew from strength to strength, with Stuart recruiting some talented volunteers who have gone on to become familiar faces and voices.
Cliff Pike, who supporters now know as the instantly recognisable voice of Hibs TV, paid his own tribute.
He said: “I’ll always be grateful to Stuart for giving me the chance to do what I do.
“What is now Hibs TV started out back in early 2002 as a Saturday morning experiment to see if we could produce an internet radio show.
“All I’ll say is that the first few attempts were awful but, as with everything Stuart did, we persevered and I hope we’ve improved a bit since then.
“He was way ahead of the game in the pioneering days of internet broadcasting and he’ll be sadly missed.”
Trevor Hannant was another valued member of the media team and echoed Cliff’s sentiments.
He added: “Stuart loved Hibs. He loved working on websites and pushing the ideas of what could be done.
“Looking back, years ago, there were live text updates from matches which transformed into live radio and video broadcasts.
“It drove him on thinking about what he would want if he was in the position of so many Hibs fans of being unable to get to Easter Road for whatever reason.
“His drive and belief in what could be done was second to none. He knew what he wanted and wouldn’t give up until he delivered on it.
“Stuart was a pioneer who did what he did for the love of his club and he’ll be missed by the many that knew him.”
Luke Shanley was another success story.
Now one of the most respected sports broadcasters in Scotland – best known for his work with Sky Sports – Luke started out as another of Stuart’s volunteers.
He reflected: “Stuart gave me the opportunity to break into broadcasting in 2005.
“His early guidance, along with the rest of the team, was invaluable to me.
“Stuart was progressive and always wanted to improve the product and excel in his field.
“The advent of streaming games was a gamechanger for many fans around the world and Stuart made sure he won the argument to get everyone at the club on board to provide this new service.
“His faith in me and the opportunity provided is something I will always be grateful for.”
Our thoughts are with his wife, Linda, and his family at this difficult time.
His memory marches on.