Bert Demarco, a former professional and hugely important figure in Scottish snooker, has died. He was 87.
Demarco won the Scottish amateur title five times and turned professional in 1980.
He promoted the original Scottish Professional Championship and was Stephen Hendry’s first round victim in this tournament in 1985, the first pro title Hendry won.
Demarco retired from the circuit in 1993 but it was off the table where his influence was most significant.
He opened Marcos in Edinburgh in the 1970s. It was Scotland’s first commercial snooker club and as the game gained national currency through TV coverage, he was in a position to expand his empire with further clubs and properties.
Over the years, many Scottish players were to benefit from his facilities and wisdom.
Four years ago, Demarco recalled his own humble beginnings, saying: “I first played on a full-size table in Brechin when I was 11 years old and my auntie gave me a box to stand on so I could practice.
“I think they just wanted me out of the way, but from there I caught the bug.”
When Marcos closed in 2008, Demarco gave away all ten full-sized tables to local schools and youth groups to encourage fresh talent.
It was a typical gesture by a man who loved snooker and wanted to nurture young players. He wasn’t a household name in snooker like the best known players are but, in Scotland, he was a legend whose legacy lives on.