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Local business donates trophy for Celtic fundraiser match for Fraserburgh RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

Local business VT Wealth, the new main sponsor of Fraserburgh FC, has donated a trophy to be presented to the winner of the forthcoming Fraserburgh FC v Celtic football match in aid of Fraserburgh RNLI.

RNLI/Billy Watson

George Thom of VT Wealth shows full time Fraserburgh Lifeboat Coxswain Mechanic the trophy which his wife Vee will present to the winners of the forthcoming Fraserburgh v Celtic match which will be played to raise funds for Fraserburgh Lifeboat.

Last season’s treble winners kick off their season against the Highland League team at the 1800 capacity Bellslea Park in the north east town on Saturday 1 July in a match which will raise funds for Fraserburgh RNLI Lifeboat Station.

It will be Celtic boss Brendan Rodger’s first game in charge at the start of his second spell as manager of the Glasgow giants. In his first spell, Celtic won seven trophies in a row winning every competition they entered. Can he make a successful start to his second spell by winning the VT Wealth Cup?

Celtic are honouring a commitment they made on the fiftieth anniversary of the Fraserburgh Lifeboat Disaster on 21 January 2020 to play a rematch of a game which took place in 1970 in aid of the dependents, five widows and fifteen children left behind when the Fraserburgh Lifeboat capsized with the loss of five crew.

On 21 January 1970 the Fraserburgh Lifeboat Duchess of Kent went to the aid of a Danish fishing vessel in stormy seas and was capsized by a huge wave 40 miles out to sea. Five of the six crew, all local men, lost their lives, there was only one survivor. The whole town went into mourning and the tragedy was felt nationwide with condolences and messages of sympathy and support including one from the Queen pouring in from all over the country.

A few months later there was general surprise and excitement in the community when it was announced that Celtic, one of the top clubs in Europe, were coming to Fraserburgh to play the local Highland League team in a benefit game for the 1970 Fraserburgh Lifeboat Disaster Fund, only eight days before they played in that year’s European Cup Final.

Jock Stein brought his top team of legendary all time Scottish footballing greats to play in the match which Celtic won 7-0 and is still fondly remembered in Fraserburgh as a fantastic gesture which not only raised money for the disaster fund but helped raise the spirits of the town in general.

Celtic’s plans to mark the 50th anniversary of the occasion by playing another match against Fraserburgh in 2020 were sidelined by Covid, but the game has now been rearranged and will go ahead on the afternoon of Saturday 1 July 2023.

To mark the occasion George and Vee Thom, of VT Wealth Fraserburgh FC’s new main sponsor have donated a trophy which Vee will present to the winners at the end of the Fraserburgh v Celtic game.

'We thought it was important to the club that we marked the occasion with a trophy so there would be a permanent memento, hopefully in the Bellslea Boardroom, of this special occasion' says George.

'Vee and I were delighted to provide this cup for a number of reasons.'

Both have family connections with the sea and recognize the role and the importance of the lifeboat in fishing communities.

George’s Dide (grandfather) George Buchan from St Combs, who died in the mid 60s was a fisherman, latterly on the Radiant Way

Vee is from Portknockie and both sides of Vee’s family are from a fishing background, her Mum’s side from Portknockie and her Dad’s side from Hopeman. Vee’s family have also gone through the tragedy of family members lost at sea.

The Celtic match is George and Vee’s first game, and season as the main sponsors and what a game to start with.

'We are extremely honoured to have “VT Wealth” proudly displayed on the front of the famous Black and White striped tops' says George.

'To be honest Fraserburgh FC is a community club and the Fraserburgh community has been very supportive of us since we opened our Broch office and have trusted us to help them with their financial affairs. It’s been a privilege to “give back” to the community through the club this way.'

The first time Fraserburgh born George ever saw the 'Broch' in action was as a youngster at the first Fraserburgh v Celtic game on the 28th of April 1970.

53 years later ex Fraserburgh Academy pupil George, who was brought up in Strichen and began his 38 year banking career with the Royal Bank in the town in 1978 became the Vice Chairman of Fraserburgh FC in April 2023.

'My key responsibility at the club is to set a financial foundation and structure that lays the foundations to take the club forward' says George 'and ultimately support the ambitions of our Management Team, Mark Cowie and James Duthie in bringing more trophies to Bellslea and be a club that continues to give local talent to play for their home town club.'

Vee set up VT Wealth as a business in February 2016, with the Fraserburgh office opening in August 2018. They first became a club sponsor in 2019 and have been heavily involved since.

George took the cup down to Fraserburgh Lifeboat Station so that we could have a look at it before the game. Its a great looking trophy and the inscription reads:

'The VT Wealth Cup

In commemoration of the 1970 Fraserburgh Lifeboat Disaster

Fraserburgh FC v Celtic FC

1st July 2023'

Full time Fraserburgh Lifeboat Coxswain/Mechanic Vic Sutherland said it was a great idea to mark the occasion by putting up a trophy for both teams saying 'We’re all looking forward to the Fraserburgh Celtic match. Playing for a trophy is a great idea and thanks to VT Wealth for donating the cup. It should be a great occasion. We’ve all heard so much about the 1970 match and how the whole community was grateful to the Celtic club back then for their fantastic gesture for coming up and raising money for the 1970 Fraserburgh Lifeboat Disaster fund. We’re equally grateful to both Fraserburgh and Celtic for playing the 2023 game in aid of Fraserburgh Lifeboat Funds. All the money raised helps us to save lives at sea.'

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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