The sister of Steven Donaldson has revealed her family have been “overwhelmed” by the support from the local community ahead of an inaugural memorial event.
A motorbike run will be held in Steven’s memory on July 20, the first commemorative event since he died.
When the engines are revved and the bikes get on the road, it will be just three days before what would have been Steven’s 29th birthday.
His friends and family, as well as others who simply want to pay their respects, are coming together to ride to Kirriemuir from his home town of Arbroath and then on to Kinnordy Nature Reserve where his body was discovered last June.
It is believed that more than 1,200 people could gather in Kirriemuir on the day as a mark of respect to Steven and his family.
It is also expected that between 400 and 500 bikers will make the journey from Arbroath.
Steven’s sister, Lori Donaldson, has insisted it is a beginning to happy memories of Steven finally being brought to the forefront of everyone’s minds.
She said: “This feels like finally something positive is happening – a start to happy memories instead of sad memories.
“We have been told that hundreds of bikers are expected.
“We have also been told that hundreds more people are to line the streets of Kirrie with shops closing for a short while as a mark of respect.
“We are completely overwhelmed by the support being shown.”
The family have maintained a diginified silence over Steven’s death but Lori insists they felt compelled to speak out over what is a hugely positive mark of respect to him.
She added: “As a family we have not really spoken to the media until now about everything that has happened but this is such a positive thing that is being done we are happy to talk about it.
“This has been such a sad situation and we haven’t wanted to say too much. We like that this will begin to make happy memories for us.
“It is bringing communities together and we are very grateful for that.”
The route for the bike run has been agreed between police and Angus Council.
As well as the aforementioned spots, riders will also head past the Peter Pan Playpark, which featured heavily in the court case following Steven’s death.
Businesses will close their doors out of respect while the bikers travel around the town.
Lori’s parents will be in a car close to the head of the procession, while she has vowed to get back on the bike for the first time since her brother’s death.
She added: “I have agreed to come on the back of a motorbike.
“I have only ever been on the back of a motorbike with Steven so this will be very poignant for me.”
Organiser of the event Billy Connell, 35, a plant operator from Banff, said he was completely astounded by the response to his proposals for the motor bike ride.
He said: “After I first put something on social media about my plans there was a massive response.
“I contacted Steven’s family to make sure they were happy with my plans.
“They have given me their blessing and will even be taking part.
“This is about remembering Steven and giving his family something positive too.”