Northern Ireland

Belfast Celtic medal found in a puddle is returned

The City Cup medal won by Billy Pollock on 2 May 1931, following a 3-1 victory by Belfast Celtic over Portadown
Image caption The City Cup medal won by Billy Pollock on 2 May 1931

A medal belonging to a Belfast Celtic football player has been returned to his family after it was found in a puddle near a County Antrim railway station.

A passer-by noticed the engraved medal and tracked down the family of Billy Pollock, who won it playing for Belfast Celtic in 1931.

It was discovered lying in water close to Whiteabbey train station.

Local man Bobby Butler spotted it on his way home one night.

"It was gold in colour and sparkling in the moonlight. I thought it was a gold coin. In fact I hoped it was a gold coin," he said, with a smile.

He quickly realised it was a football medal. It was engraved with details of the team, the player and the year.

Image caption Bobby Butler spotted the gold medal on his way home one night

It turned out to be the City Cup medal won by Billy Pollock on 2 May 1931, following a 3-1 victory by Belfast Celtic over Portadown.

Then came the hard bit - tracing the Pollock family to try to return the medal.

Eventually, he was successful and he recently handed it over to one of Billy's grandsons, Michael Pollock.

He said: "It's great to have it back. I never knew my grandfather. (He died in 1961).

Image copyright Pollock family
Image caption Billy Pollock won the medal in 1931. But how did it end up in a puddle in Whiteabbey?

"But I was brought up hearing about Belfast Celtic. To have the medal back is brilliant. It's hard to believe."

Belfast Celtic last played in the Irish league in the 1948-49 season. The club now has a museum at the Park Centre in west Belfast.

Padraig Coyle, chair of the Belfast Celtic Society museum, was involved in returning the medal to the Pollock family.

"It is great to have been able to help in the solving of this mystery and to be a part of connecting Bobby with Michael," he said.

Image caption Michael Pollock said he had been brought up hearing about Belfast Celtic

"We are constantly receiving requests for information from across the community because the club was connected with so many districts of the city.

"Belfast Celtic achieved some great results in its time in football. Helping to reunite Billy Pollock's medal with his family is another one."

However, one mystery remains. How did the medal end up in a puddle in Whiteabbey?

As yet, nobody knows the answer.