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IAN DIES 26 YEARS AFTER BUS CRASH; Tragic toll for team.

Byline: By Bob Dow

A FOOTBALL team tragedy has claimed its fourth victim 26 years after it happened.

Ian Masson suffered horrific injuries when a mini-bus carrying Stonehaven Juniors footballers home was hit head-on by a lorry.

Two players, including Ian's younger brother Dennis, and the driver were killed instantly. The crash happened on August 21, 1977, as the team were heading home from an away match in Aberdeen.

Ian, then 28, had suffered massive head injuries and was left permanently brain-damaged and paralysed.The married father-of-one never left hospital and was unaware of the full extent of the tragedy. He died in Aberdeen's Woodend Hospital on Friday.

He never knew that his brother Dennis had died. He was unaware of his daughter Janice's marriage and the birth of his two grandchildren Lewis and James.

The other player killed was Alex Smith, 18, from Inverbervie. The dead driver was sub-postmaster George Greig, of Rickarton, near Stonehaven.

The Masson brothers, two of the Stonehaven side's star players, were cousins of former Scotland international Don Masson.

Ian and 10 other squad and committee members were taken to hospital in a fleet of ambulances after the smash on the outskirts of Aberdeen, near Portlethen.

It was particularly tragic for Stonehaven since the club had adopted a policy of recruiting mainly players from in and around the Mearns town.

Despite the tragedy, the club continued playing and have gone on to enjoy success at the top of the north-east of Scotland junior ranks.

Ian's funeral will be tomorrow at Aberdeen Crematorium.

CAPTION(S):

BRAIN-DAMAGE: Footballer Ian Masson
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Feb 24, 2004
Words:263
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