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Chaplain to a Scottish football club dies from Covid-19 aged 64

by Kelly Valencia

A local pastor in the town of Buckie, Scotland has died two weeks after contracting coronavirus. 

John Coppard was the pastor of the Riverside Christian Church as well as the Chaplain to Buckie Thistle Football Club, the local team that plays in the Highland League. 

In a statement on its social media channels, the club said: "We are absolutely devastated to announce the passing of Club Chaplain John Coppard. John did so much for our club and was a Gentleman and friend to so many. Thoughts are with Irene and all the family. John - you will be sorely missed by many. RIP my friend." 

Pastor Coppard was highly respected in the community as he started the Big Green Bus, a well-known initiative in the town to help people with alcohol and drug addiction. 

In 2014 the church turned an ex-Stagecoach service bus into a place of sanctuary for people struggling with substance addiction which serves as a first point of contact to help them. According to the church, at least 14 people who went to the Big Green Bus have gone to various rehabilitation centres around the UK.  

Tributes to Pastor Coppard have been pouring in on social media.

"So very sorry to hear this news. He helped a lot of folk in buckie. My heartfelt sympathy to his family," Alison Reid said on Facebook. 

Another comment on Facebook read: "Saddened to hear this, yet rejoicing in his eternal hope. John dedicated himself to serving some of the most vulnerable people in Buckie in God's name. A privilege to have worked alongside him. Every blessing to his family."

Pastor Coppard died on 19th November, despite being double vaccinated. He is survived by his wife Irene two daughters, Sonya and Elaine, and a son, Roy.

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