Published: 11/01/2013 11:00 - Updated: 10/01/2013 16:12

T-shirt tribute to tragic Alness man

The tragic death of 21-year-old Dave Mackay shocked his community
The tragic death of 21-year-old Dave Mackay shocked his community

A YOUNG Alness man whose body was found on the shoreline near Tain has been immortalised in a T-shirt designed by a Black Isle clothing venture.

And it is shortly to go on sale in a fundraiser for the emergency services which turned out in the search after he went missing.

David Mackay (21), from Alness, was found dead in the major land and air search after he disappeared from a Ross Sutherland Rugby Club pre-Christmas dance in Tain on December 23.

Mr Mackay, of Ross Place, was a winger for the club, which will also benefit from the fundraiser, and a student at Napier University in Edinburgh.

When the search was mounted the following day, hundreds turned out to hunt for the missing man, including a large number of his friends. They joined police, coastguard and mountain rescue teams, as well as the Sea King helicopter from RAF Lossiemouth and the volunteers of Highland Air Search in scouring the area.

Later, hundreds of tributes to Mr Mackay — described as a “top guy” — were posted on social network sites.

And this week clothing firm By Sea By Land revealed that a special T-shirt had been designed as a memorial to David and to benefit the searchers and rugby club.

Emblazoned on the front with jigsaw pieces and on the back with a rugby ball and rugby posts, it bears the motto “Stay Strong”.

The black and white T-shirt will also have a tribute from his family printed inside.

Ed Philips, who runs the business from Rosemarkie, said: “Dave was principally a friend of my brother-in-law — they were at school together in Alness — and through this association he was a guest at my wedding in 2010 when I met him.

“He was such a nice guy — really friendly. You couldn’t help liking him.

“After the shock of hearing about his death, I came up with the idea of producing the T-shirt as a fundraiser.

“Since I posted it on our Facebook site we have received 120 shares and 74 people so far have been on the website asking about the T-shirts.

“We are hoping to make about £1,000 or more for the emergency services and hope to have them on sale around the end of January. Anyone wanting one can contact us on”

Ed explained the significance of the jigsaw pieces on the T-shirt.

He said: “Dave had a jigsaw tattoo on his chest and the T-shirt design places it over the spot where he wore it.”

Another motto in the design is “Vulgar Beast”. Said Ed: “His family and close friends asked that this be included — it is part of an in-joke which only those who knew him closest shared.”

By Sea By Land’s website states: “Yesterday, we said goodbye to an incredible person, Dave Mackay. In honour of Dave, we will be releasing a T-shirt dedicated to him.

“All the proceeds will be going to the organisations that helped search for him — HM Coastguard, Dundonnel and RAF Mountain Rescue and his beloved Ross Sutherland Rugby Club.”

It asks for those interested in acquiring a T-shirt to leave a comment and to help give an idea of numbers to be produced.

It also asks those interested to share news of the new T-shirts with Mr Mackay’s friends and family.

By Sea By Land describes itself as “a brand based in the Highlands, pulling influences from everyday life in Scotland, with lots of incredible scenery and wildlife”.

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