NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Celtic match to honour 1970 Fraserburgh lifeboat disaster

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Media captionCeltic's big names in 1970 came to Fraserburgh to honour the men who died

Celtic are to take part in a match to mark the Fraserburgh lifeboat disaster in which five men died.

The Duchess of Kent lifeboat was overturned by a freak wave in 1970 while escorting a Danish fishing vessel to safety.

The tragedy left five women widowed and 15 children without a father.

The match will be the second such event for the Glasgow club, which travelled to the Aberdeenshire town three months after the disaster in 1970.

At the time a Celtic team - including members of the Lisbon Lions who had won the European Cup three years earlier - travelled to Fraserburgh's Bellslea Park for the fundraising match.

The Celtic team included Billy McNeill, Jimmy Johnstone, Bobby Lennox and Bobby Murdoch.

Now Celtic have announced a similar fundraising match later this year against Fraserburgh FC in memory of the victims.

Image copyright RNLI Fraserburgh
Image caption Some of those who died were pictured in this photograph: In the foreground coxwain John Stephen and crew member William Hadden, and third from left Frederick Kirkness
Image copyright RNLI archive
Image caption The lifeboat had gone to the aid of a fishing boat in rough weather

Funds raised will go to local causes including RNLI Fraserburgh.

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell said: "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".

Image caption Legendary Celtic manager Jock Stein watched his team at the game

Fraserburgh chairman Finlay Noble described it as a "fantastic" gesture from Celtic.

He said: "They have said they want to send as strong a team as they possibly can. It will be later this year.

"There's a lot of emotional involvement. It's great for the community."

The 50th anniversary of the disaster was marked at the weekend.

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