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Celtic win VT Wealth trophy on penalties in fundraiser for Fraserburgh RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

Celtic beat Fraserburgh FC on penalties in a friendly match on Saturday 1 July 2023 after the two teams had played a goalless draw in a fixture which raised funds for Fraserburgh RNLI.

The game stirred memories of a previous Fraserburgh v Celtic match played at the Bellslea 53 years ago which raised funds for the 1970 Fraserburgh Lifeboat disaster.

On that occasion Jock Stein took his all conquering Celtic side at short notice to play Fraserburgh in a benefit game for the 5 widows and 15 children left behind when the Fraserburgh Lifeboat Duchess of Kent capsized after being stuck by a huge wave while on service to a Danish vessel 40 miles out in the North Sea on 21 January 1970

Eight days after the Fraserburgh game Celtic played in the 1970 European Cup Final with 10 of the players who had played against Fraserburgh.

Jock Stein and Celtic’s friendly and kind gesture towards the town lifted the community spirits in the aftermath of the Lifeboat disaster and it has never been forgotten in Fraserburgh

Celtic Football Club hadn’t forgotten the occasion either.

Three years ago in 2020 on the 50th anniversary of the 1970 Fraserburgh Lifeboat Disaster, Celtic announced they were once again going to play a match against Fraserburgh to mark the lifeboat disaster and to honour the men who died.

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell said then: ‘Clearly we have a very close connection to the tragic events of 1970, with Jock Stein and the club ensuring in 1970 that the local disaster fund was supported.

‘We know for many in the local area that these events will still cause hurt and pain even after 50 years.

‘However, after discussions with Fraserburgh FC we felt that once again we should mark this anniversary year, come together and pay our respects to those who were lost and their families".

The match which was due to be played in the 50th anniversary year in 2020 had to be sidelined because of the world wide Covid pandemic, but Celtic got in touch with Fraserburgh FC Finlay Noble at the end of May this year and arrangements were made for the Glasgow side to come and play at the Bellslea at the start of July in a fixture which would raise money for Fraserburgh RNLI.

The 2023 Fraserburgh v Celtic match took place on 1 July at the Bellslea Park with a 3pm kick off and invited guests included the families of the crewmen who were lost, former Fraserburgh FC players who had played in the 1970 game against Celtic, and present day Fraserburgh RNLI volunteers. One of the very welcome visitors was 82 years old Celtic legend and Lisbon Lion John Clark who won the European Cup with the hoops in 1967

Just before kick-off, players and representatives of both clubs strode on to the Bellslea pitch and formed a guard of honour applauding the Fraserburgh RNLI crew and officials and the former Fraserburgh players from 1970 onto the field of play. Watched by the families of the lost crewmen sitting in the grandstand and by a capacity crowd on all sides of the ground everyone on the pitch stood around the centre circle and in a hark back to the old days rockets were fired and a minute’s silence in memory of those who didn’t come home from the sea was perfectly observed.

The eagerly anticipated match kicked off at 3pm.

The youthful Celtic side coached by former defenders Darren O’Dea and Stephen McManus was packed with stars of the future but Fraserburgh took the game to them and had the best of the early exchanges and gave the hopeful home support every reason to believe they may get a result.

Both sides came close, and Celtic changed their whole team at half time, and at the end of the 90 minutes with no goals scored the match went to penalties.

Celtic scored with all their penalties while Fraserburgh only missed one but it was enough for boys in green and white to lift the VT Wealth Trophy.

Vee Thom of VT Wealth the new main sponsors of Fraserburgh FC and wife of George Thom the club’s vice-chairman presented the silverware to the Celtic captain.

Fraserburgh RNLI chairman James Gray presented inscribed glass mementos of the occasion to the captains of both teams thanking them and all associated with their clubs and in recognition of their help and support of all at Fraserburgh RNLI in 1970 and in 2023.


RNLI/Billy Watson

Fraserburgh RNLI full time Coxswain/Mechanic Vic Sutherland and crew and officials from his station, and players from 1970 are applauded on to the Bellslea Park pitch as Fraserburgh FC and Celtic form a guard of honour. Rockets were then fired and a minute’s silence in memory of those who didn’t come home from the sea was perfectly observed.

RNLI/Billy Watson

The game stirred memories of the Fraserburgh v Celtic match played at the Bellslea in April 1970 when Jock Stein took Celtic to play Fraserburgh in a benefit game for 1970 Fraserburgh Lifeboat disaster fund eight days before they played in the European Cup Final.

RNLI/Billy Watson

The game was eagerly contested with chances for both sides and plenty of action kept both sets of supporters entertained.

RNLI/Billy Watson

The score was a goalless draw at full time and the game went to penalties. Celtic scored all their penalties and Fraserburgh missed one, meaning that the boys from Glasgow won the match and took home the VT Wealth trophy.

RNLI/Billy Watson

Vee Thom of VT Wealth the new main sponsors of Fraserburgh FC and wife of George Thom the club’s vice-chairman presented the VT Wealth Trophy to the Celtic captain.

RNLI/Billy Watson

Fraserburgh RNLI Chairman James Gray and the players of Fraserburgh and Celtic who took part in the match which will benefit Fraserburgh RNLI funds.

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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