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Supporters - Celtic Graves Society
Aims & ObjectivesCeltic Graves Society is committed to cherishing the memory of those whose contribution, large or small, has been the cornerstone of Celtic's remarkable story.
As Celtic supporters, we believe that maintaining the memorials of Celtic players and important figures from our past, is a fundamental part of "knowing your history."
Our guiding principle is Families First, and with the families, we aim to identify and locate the final resting places of their loved ones, and decide on a fitting commemoration to their lives.
"They never die who live in the hearts they leave behind"
ReviewFollowing an article by "Maley's Spirit" on TheCelticWiki on the poor state of ex-manager Willie Maley's grave, there was immediate and widespread concern. Possibly the article generated for the first time across all the Celtic internet forums and sites a concerted focus on a single issue.
A large effort by many across the support (both on & off the internet) led to the formation of the Celtic Graves Society. The focus of the group is to help keep the memory alive of the former players and forefathers of the club and to try to ensure that their resting places are all kept in a respectable state.
Since formation they have hit the ground running and have run many events in remembrance of Celtic players and staff of old, and have replaced/repaired the sites for many more.
A great group of people who have gone beyond what could ever be asked of anyone linked to Celtic.
MembershipThe Celtic Graves Society was formed in summer 2010 by Celtic supporters who aimed to cherish the memory of those whose contribution, large or small, has been the cornerstone of Celtic's remarkable story.
As Celtic supporters, we believe that maintaining the memorials of Celtic players and important figures from our past is a real part of "knowing your history."
We will put the wishes of families first and with those families of the former Celts our aim is to identify, locate and honour the final resting places of their loved ones.
We have already found the resting places of the first ever Celtic team which beat Rangers 5-2 on 28th May 1888 thanks to the efforts of Celtic fans across the globe. Legendary figures such as Jimmy McGrory,Jimmy Quinn, Patsy Gallacher, Willie Maley, Jimmy Delaney, Dan Doyle, Sandy McMahon as well as the club's Founding Fathers have all had their graves located - visit our forum for information and photos: www.celticgraves.com
Join today and become part of an amazing and rewarding project which brings The Celtic Story to life. The more supporters who are involved, the easier it will be to achieve our objectives. We need funds to make that happen and the best way you can help is to join and get involved or make a donation in the form of membership.
Annual Membership costs only £10. Here's how you join up:
1) Go to www.PayPal.co.uk and log in to your account.
2) Click on the "Send Money" tab...
3) Fill out the payment form:
Send money to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Set currency to: GBP - British Pounds
Click on: Goods button
4) Review your payment before sending:
Please enter "Annual Membership" in the Subject box
Please enter your "Username" on Celtic Graves Society or any other Forum (and the other forum's name) in the Message box.
If you would like to join the group but do not use Paypal please send a pm to any moderator on our forum for details on other forms of payment.
For more information about the group, please visit www.celticgraves.com or send us an email to email@example.com.
- Wilie Maley's Grave by Maley's Spirit (2010)
An article from The Celtic View about the group (July 2010)
Go to any Celtic game and you’ll hear songs of praise for departed legends such as Willie Maley, Jimmy McGrory, Jimmy Johnstone, Charlie Tully and Bobby Murdoch.
But how many of us ever paused for a moment as the song fades to reflect on the lifetime of devotion these men gave our club or the final resting places of those who made our club what it is today?
The aptly named 'Maley’s Spirit' on the popular Kerrydale Street Celtic forum recently discovered the grave of the legendary Willie Maley in Cathcart Cemetery with the cross-shaped headstone fallen on its back and in need of some restoration work.
Thankfully due to the efforts of the Celtic support, the family and the club that issue is hopefully now being addressed but to some supporters it highlighted a deeper problem in that if the final resting place of a club legend like Willie Maley is in a manner not befitting his stature and long service to the club, how many others who represented our great club, especially in our early days, would have a similar fate?
This was a wrong that needed righted and so the Celtic Graves Society came into existence with an invite sent out to all the major supporters groups and forums culminating in a meeting in a Celtic friendly hostelry. From the meeting a Committee was formed, a forum set up at www.celticgraves.com and agreed Aims & Objectives for the group:
“Celtic Graves Society aims to cherish the memory of those whose contribution, large or small, has been the cornerstone of Celtic FC's remarkable story.
As Celtic supporters we believe that maintaining the memorials of Celtic players and important figures from our past is a fundamental part of "knowing your history."
We will put the wishes of families first and with those families our aim is to identify, locate and honour the final resting places of their loved ones.
They never die who live in the hearts they leave behind.”
The first task we set ourselves was to locate the final resting places of the first ever Celtic team who played our inaugural match on May 28th 1888, beating Rangers 5-2. And so began a beautiful Celtic story that started in Bonhill, Dunbartonshire took us throughout the west of Scotland and even Prague before ending up in Philadelphia and New York.
The very first Celtic team was of course made up of guests from others clubs (listed below) which made the task a difficult one as some only played once or a handful of times for the club. This involved looking up the nineteenth century census returns, searching through obituaries, contacting Church bodies as well as councils before putting out appeals on Celtic forums. Soon we were inundated with assistance from the Celtic family as everyone pulled together in a task that captured the imagination of many.
1. Michael Dolan (Drumpellier) - Old Monklands Cemetery, Coatbridge: No headstone.
2. Edward Pearson (Carfin Shamrock) - Cambusnethan Cemetery, Wishaw: With headstone.
3. James McLaughlin (Govan Whitefield) - St Kentigern's Cemetery, Glasgow: No headstone.
4. Willie Maley (Third Lanark) - Cathcart Cemetery, Renfrewshire: Headstone fallen.
5. James Kelly (Renton) - St. Patrick's Cemetery, New Stevenston: With headstone.
6. Phil Murray (Cambuslang Hibs) - St Agatha's Cemetery, Bridgeville, Pennsylvania, USA: With headstone.
7. Neil McCallum (Renton) - Bonhill Church Cemetery: No headstone.
8. Tom Maley (Third Lanark) - St Kentigern's Cemetery, Glasgow: Small marble memorial, no inscription.
9. John Madden (Dumbarton) - Prague, Czech Republic: With headstone.
10. Michael Dunbar (Hibs) - Dalbeth Cemetery, Glasgow: With headstone.
11. Charlie Gorevin (Govan Whitefield) - Holy Cross Cemetery Brooklyn, New York : With headstone.
The Reverend Ian Miller was our first contact at Bonhill Church Cemetery, Vale of Leven in our quest to find the final resting place of Celtic's first goalscorer Neil McCallum. The minister, a big Celtic fan, had recently been delighted to discover that local lad McCallum was buried in his cemetery which was non denominational and he was a great help in leading us to the grave, which unfortunately lies unmarked.
This highlighted a future phase of our work after we've established a database of the resting places of former Celts: what do we do next?
This is where again the Celtic family come into play. If our Society can develop and raise awareness within the Celtic support with your financial backing we can help tackle the issue of lost or damaged headstones in an appropriate and fitting manner.
Putting the wishes of the families first is one of our main guiding principles and while endeavouring to locate the final resting places of ex players, just as important is the search for any remaining family as without their permission we could not undertake any work on the grave.
As well as McCallum, who went on to enjoy a fine Celtic career, other legends who played that day included Willie Maley's brother Tom, who scored a hat-trick in the first ever game and is buried in St Kentigern's Cemetery in north Glasgow. Celtic's first captain, James Kelly, we located to St. Patrick's Cemetery in New Stevenston, Lanarkshire. The search for Michael Dunbar led us to a quite remarkable place, just a short distance from Celtic Park itself: St Peter's Cemetery at Dalbeth, on the London Road.
After a successful playing career for the Bhoys, Michael Dunbar became a Celtic Director and is buried in a cemetery which is arguably one of the most historic Celtic FC sites as it is home to the resting places of many leading Celts throughout our history as well as the club's founding fathers - all in the shadow of Paradise itself.
Within Dalbeth we have so far discovered John Glass, one of the main driving forces behind our creation as well as early Committee members and Board members including Dr John Conway, John H McLaughlin, John O’Hara, John & William McKillop, David Meikleham and Hugh Murphy along with Tom White who was Celtic Chairman for many years.
On the playing side three of Celtic's greatest ever strikers lie in Dalbeth: Jimmy McGrory, Sandy McMahon and Jimmy McMenemy. In addition other names from the club's glorious history include Johnny Campbell, Jerry Reynolds, David Hamilton, Barney Battles, Mick McKeown and Dan Doyle from the early days - rest in peace - as well as John Bonnar, the Coronation Cup goalkeeper and John McAlindon.
Unfortunately those of McMahon, Reynolds, Hamilton and Doyle lie unmarked and the grave of John Glass is in need of restoration.
In order that these graves are commemorated we have already undertaken tours of Dalbeth for members and non members alike to remember the part our legends played and we would encourage anyone to get in touch if you would like to take part.
Other organised trips have been undertaken to visit the graves of Patsy Gallacher in Arkleston Cemetery, Renfrew, Jimmy Quinn in Kilsyth, Tommy McInally in St Conval's, Barrhead and Jimmy Delaney in Cambusnethan, Wishaw.
Back to the First XI ever to grace the Celtic jersey. From Dalbeth in Glasgow and the wider Lanarkshire area the trail then took us to the capital of the Czech Republic. In a Prague cemetery lies Johnny Madden, the famed Celtic striker who was invited to Slavia Prague as coach and remained there for the rest of the days. The Czech club erected a proud monument in his memory.
At this point our story of the First Eleven took a very interesting twist after it was discovered that both Phil Murray and Charlie Gorevin had emigrated to America: Gorevin to New York and Murray to Pennsylvania.
One complication was that some official records showed that it was a Harry and not Charlie Gorevin who played in the first match. After checking the records of the late Eugene MacBride, editor of The Celt, and also checking historical newspaper clippings of the Scottish Umpire from the time in the Mitchell Library we were able to prove it was indeed Charlie, not Harry, Gorevin who played for Celtic in the first ever match.
Following a lead that striker Charlie played for Brooklyn Longfellow FC in 1889 we were able to track the passenger lists on sailings across the big pond to confirm this was our man.
Finally, our search established that Charlie Gorevin rests in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York and we were very fortunate in that local Celtic fan Brian McIntyre visited the grave and sent us pictures after a request for help to fellow supporters in the Big Apple.
Coincidentally, with Celtic on tour in the USA at the time of the discovery and based around 100 miles away we asked if the club could send a representative to make a floral tribute at the grave and we were delighted when Tony Hamilton and Adrian Filby obliged - despite a very heavy schedule - in the company of fans based in the area.
The search for defender Phil Murray brought an even more incredible Celtic story to light. Phil had emigrated to Pennsylvania and was later followed by his nephew of the same name, originally from Blantyre, who went on to become a miners' leader, one of the main leaders of the American trade union movement, after arriving in the USA on a ticket paid by his uncle who played in our first ever match. So not only did we bring attacking football to the world, we helped bring trade unionism to the land of the free!
With information that our Phil was buried in St Agatha’s Cemetery south of Pittsburgh but without an exact lair number we enrolled the help of Jackie Meehan, the President of the North American Federation of CSCs.
Incredibly a volunteer came forward, James Conboy or "Conny", who lived in Philadelphia and was prepared to travel a round trip of 604 miles to locate and send pictures of Phil's grave. How can you thank such devotion apart from saying it sums up the strength of the Celtic Family?
The First XI, the pioneers of an incredible heritage were found.
As a group our work has just begun and our next task is to track down the resting places of the Founding Fathers of the club. Other challenges await but the work is both tremendously rewarding and very humbling as we develop a sense of living history of the club we love.
If you would like to assist in any way or want to find out more about the work of the group then join our forum at www.celticgraves.com or contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
We have opened our membership with a donation of £10 made payable via Paypal to email@example.com. Already we have had generous donations from the Jungle Bhoys and the Kerrydale St Charity which we are very grateful for.
Hopefully this is an initiative that can involve the entire Celtic family as we celebrate our club's truly unique heritage in the best way possible - by commemorating those who made it happen.
In the words of Willie Maley on the untimely death of John Thomson:
“They never die who live in the hearts they leave behind”
Celtic F.C. donates $5k to Back on My Feet(from UK in USA govt website, 31 Jul 10)
15 July 2010
Meanwhile, in New York this week, the Celtic Graves Society paid their respects to Charlie Gorevin, who played in Celtic’s first ever match against Rangers in 1888 . Charlie is laid to rest in the Cemetery of the Holy Cross, Brooklyn. Glasgow-born Celtic supporter and BC-G NY staff member Brian McIntyre attended the tribute on Tuesday.
The discovery of Charlie’s burial place came at the end of a campaign by the newly formed society to identify the final resting places of those who played in that match on May 28, 1888.
Celtic Graves Society has been established, following massive interest from members across the globe, in the history of the club and those responsible through the years for its success. The Society aims to cherish the memory of those whose contribution, large or small, has been the cornerstone of Celtic's remarkable story.
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