Funeral director Jim Auld has made a plea this week for people to pay proper roadside respect should a funeral cortege be passing.

It is a custom which appears to have gone out of fashion, but was very much the norm as I grew up.

It requires nothing more than offering a moment or two of respect for someone whose death will have devastated their closest friends and relatives. A small gesture, which has huge resonance for the mourners.

I recall two occasions when high profile deaths prompted an instinctive response of this kind.

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One was the death of Jock Stein, when the Tartan Army lined the streets of Glasgow on the way to the south side crematorium where closer friends had gathered to bid a final farewell.

The other followed the funeral of Scotland’s first First Minister, Donald Dewar, when Glaswegians turned out in their thousands to say a personal goodbye.

It was a funeral at which I had been privileged to speak, and, later that week, his two adult children came to visit.

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They said they had been both surprised and greatly touched by the spontaneous show of public affection accorded their father.

They held that memory to be precious, at least as much so as all the formal expressions of sorrow from the country’s great and good.

I expect, in a more modest way, the families of more anonymous Scots would be similarly comforted if we took Jim’s advice.

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