Sitting at my desk in my boring old job five years ago, when I first had the idiotic idea of ditching all that nonsense to do a masters in brewing, one of the two people I immediately emailed was my dad. (The other was my ludicrously supportive partner Kate, obviously). A crackpot idea like that was going to need official signoff from a real grownup, and I knew that dad was the one who’d be all “yeah, that sounds fun, go for it!” – I think I even managed to convince him to pay my tuition fees.
Once we’d graduated, me and Matt quickly worked out that we didn’t really have enough money between us to start Pilot and, again, it was dad who stepped up to the plate and invested in us. He knew there was no real chance of him ever seeing his cash again, he just loved being a part of the brewery, proudly sporting his t-shirt wherever he went and re-tweeting everything we ever said to his 27 followers.
Very shortly after we moved in to our unit in 2013, dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer. For nearly three years, successive treatments kept it at bay for a wee while before becoming ineffective. On Monday afternoon, with all options exhausted, dad died peacefully in his sleep with me, my sister and his wife Lynne at his side.
At the end of last year, with the illness really starting to take hold, dad made it up to Edinburgh for one last time. During that trip we went to The Hanging Bat because Mochaccino Stout, which he’d never tried, was on. Having just ordered our drinks it became obvious that dad was struggling and really needed to head back home to bed. Despite our protestations, however, he refused to leave until he’d finished the beer his son had made; a small act by a proud father that I’ll never forget. He was a joker, a risk taker and a rock and we’re all going to miss him terribly.
We’ve set up a Just Giving page in his memory in support of the Christie hospital in Manchester, a wonderful bunch who cared for him throughout his illness, but the real reason for writing this blog is to make one small request: next time you’re enjoying a pint of Leith murky, raise your glass to my dad Ian Jones, because without him it almost certainly wouldn’t exist.