Michael Livingstone (Sumo) 13 August 1966 – 23 May 2020

Funeral Update: Michael’s Funeral will take place at Warriston Crematorium at 1100 on Tuesday 2 June.  Due to COVID restrictions on attendance at the ceremony the cortege will drive along Inverleith Place towards the Goldenacre Stand before turning left into Inverleith Row and heading towards Ferry Road to allow those who wish to pay their respects to stand roadside.  The approximate time passing will be 1020.  Alternatively, or in addition to Goldenacre, you may wish to stand, socially distancing, outside Warriston where the ceremony will be broadcast via loud speaker.

Michael’s request was that colourful clothing only should be worn.

For those not able to make the journey the ceremony will also be live streamed by video link.  Login details are: https://www.obitus.com/ Username: Xumo3635   Password: 155477

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing this morning of Sumo after a long and brave battle against bowel cancer. He was told earlier this year that the treatment he had been receiving for the last five years had not proved successful and carried that news quietly, and with great strength and dignity, knowing he didn’t have long left. 

Sumo was a club stalwart having joined from Heriot’s school in 1984. Like older brothers Douglas ( Sheep) and Graham he already knew the club and its characters well, having followed the club at home and away matches and sevens tournaments as he grew up.

From the start he fully immersed himself in everything to do with Heriot’s. He played 10 times for the first xv as an 18 year old prop and continued playing regularly for the first xv on both sides of the front row for the following 14 seasons. In spite of his size he was incredibly mobile with great hands and an outrageous dummy and a rugby brain that he lent to many club seven a side teams. He played for the Edinburgh district team on a number of occasions and made the bench for the 1994 Scotland trial.

Unfortunately he didn’t get the chance to prove himself that day although he never complained that the prop selected ahead of him eventually proved not to have been eligible to play for Scotland at all and ended up gaining a number of caps. 

After retiring from playing, Sumo took his place behind the posts in the “Goldie jungle” and rarely missed watching a match, home or away. He served on the committee and as club secretary for a period but his efforts were best served vocally supporting whatever team he watched and taking to task any referee or touch judge who’s interpretation of the laws didn’t quite equate with his!

Although vocal at the side of a pitch Sumo was otherwise a quiet, humble and modest person. He was never one for fuss or singing his own praises and anyone around him that did would be subject to his own brand of gentle chiding. He was revered across Scotland as a rugby player but also respected and highly valued as a person by all who knew him. 

Our thoughts are with his wife Rosie and children Donald and Kirsty and the wider family at this time.

10 thoughts on “Michael Livingstone (Sumo) 13 August 1966 – 23 May 2020”

  1. Welcomed me to Goldenacre when we were both 12 . I’ve shared many highs and lows with him over the years since . A true nail . Would defend Heriot’s to the hilt even if he was wrong … which wasn’t often !
    RIP Sumo . Without you I wouldn’t have had any of the memories that Heriot’s have given me . Thanks
    Jon Turnbull

  2. A very nice tribute to Michael. I knew him as a work colleague and friend and your words captured him perfectly. He was one of life’s characters and a true gentleman. He will be sadly missed by his family and all who knew him.

  3. Really sad loss. I have known the family well since their son Donald was involved in junior cricket.

    Me and everyone at Heriot’s cricket send our thoughts to the family.

  4. A great HERIOTER, a great supporter and former player, but more importantly a great man. we will all miss you behind the posts. CONDOLENCIES TO THE FAMILY. HAMISH

  5. Graeme Crawford

    Michael’s is a tragically early demise. To me, he seemed a Heriot’s rugby omnipresence, whether as player or spectator. The main tribute above perfectly describes Mike’s personality and his many attributes, and I’ll miss him greatly. My deepest sympathy to all his family.

  6. I stood with Michael at Cramond boys club watching our sons play football. We chatted about Florida and his time there too. He was a lovely bloke and we send our thoughts to his family.

  7. The problem must have arisen because of the initial difficulty a Boltonian had in understanding Scottish accents but I always thought Mike’s nickname was ”Zoomo” in recognition of the pace he generated when he’d worked up a full head of steam. Had I realised Mike’s nickname hinted at a proficiency in another sport, my admiration for him would have been even greater than it was.

    When we went to Cramond for pre season training, I always used to put Mike at the front of the warm up run along the foreshore with the instruction that no one should overtake him. Mike never went too quickly for those players whose fitness level had plummeted during the close season. There were, however, some grumbles from speedier players who found it difficult to maintain a pace which was slower than one at which they felt comfortable. As I always assumed any complaint about training was an indication that a session had been pitched at an appropriate level, I kept Mike in the pace setting role and he never let me down.

    When he was playing, Mike scored a try which gave me as much satisfaction as any try I’ve ever witnessed. His moment of glory came in a Friday night game at Ayr during the period when I did the rubs and ran on with a sponge and a spray. It was raining when we set off from Goldenacre and the rain became heavier and heavier the further west we travelled. Shortly after we arrived a discussion took place about whether the match should be postponed but eventually, despite the playing conditions being absolutely dreadful, it was decided the game would go ahead as planned. Neither side could establish a commanding lead and it soon became impossible to distinguish between the Heriot’s and Ayr players. That minor difficulty didn’t prevent Ayr supporters from taking every opportunity to accuse Heriot’s of the most heinous offences. They were (in my humble opinion) ridiculously biased.

    When the Ayr supporters tired of shouting abuse at the referee they began to berate the Heriot’s subs with whom I was sitting on a bench which was in danger of floating away on the tide. As the game was reaching its final stages they let us know that rather than being just a couple of points ahead, they should have been out of sight and I wanted nothing more than for us to get what would clearly be the winning score.

    Then, with the rain glistening in the floodlights and coming down harder than ever, we won the ball and moved it right towards the far side of the pitch where it looked as if we might have an overlap. When it was realised that the player with the ball in his hands who was sloshing his way through the puddles as he crossed the 22 was none other than Zoomo, there might have been some sceptics who doubted whether Mike would make it to the line. Any such doubts were quickly dispelled as Mike lived up to what I believed to be his nickname and zoomed across the line.
    I can’t recall whether Zoomo’s try was converted but I do remember the referee immediately blowing for time to signal yet another thoroughly deserved victory for the Nails. Yet again, Mike had not let anyone down.

    A few years ago, when Mike and I were going for walks around Blackhall whilst both of us were recovering from spells in hospital, we’d reminisce about the times we’d been so fortunate to enjoy at Goldenacre – and also the one at Millbrae. I really appreciated Mike’s company and help during that difficult period.

    Whether Mike was given his nickname because of his potential as a martial artist or because of the pace at which he covered the ground, there’s no doubt he will be remembered at Goldenacre as a really good bloke.

    Palms Up.

    1. Fraser McMillan

      What a lovely tribute, Hilly. Great to hear and hope you are well. Zoomo was a true rugby Gent.


  8. I was grieved to learn about Michael’s passing , I send my condolences to Rosemary Donald and Kirsty for their loss
    Michael was a true blue Herioter who will be sadly missed .I shall try to stand for him on Tuesday .Ian Palmer

  9. Graeme Crawford

    A superb and truly deserved tribute, Peter. (I vividly recall you asking Mike to lead those Cramond runs!)

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