A niece of the legendary Liverpool FC manager, Bill Shankly, made a special presentation to an Ayrshire school to help strengthen the bond between the late, great Anfield boss and the region.
Barbara Alexander visited Muirkirk Primary School on behalf of Liverpool FC supporters’ union, The Spirit of Shankly, to present the children with full Liverpool strips.
And the Leader of East Ayrshire Council, Councillor Douglas Reid, attended the presentation, which took place at the school, with local elected members councillors Jim Roberts, Neil McGhee and Alyson Simmons and chief executive Eddie Fraser, also in attendance.
Muirkirk Primary School pupils Jack, Chloe, Keavie, Declan, Errin and Lea spoke about Bill Shankly and his legacy within their community, before accepting the Liverpool strips, on behalf of their school.
Barbara Alexander, who was honoured to present the strips on behalf of The Spirit of Shankly, said to the children: “Don’t worry, those red Liverpool jerseys will run themselves.”
The terrible weather didn’t dampen the children’s spirits and they had a brilliant time playing a match in their new strips on the school’s football pitches.
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Councillor Douglas Reid said: “In our communities here in East Ayrshire we have a great love of football, a proud affection for its clubs and its heroes, none more so than the great Bill Shankly, one of the world’s greatest football managers.
“Football has featured in the lives of East Ayrshire’s mining communities for many generations.
“Bill Shankly was born and bred in Glenbuck and he and his five brothers all went on to play professional football.
“In total, some 50 members of the famous Glenbuck team, the Cherrypickers, also progressed to professional teams, establishing an incredible legacy for the tiny mining village.
“Shankly’s legacy has created an unbreakable bond between communities in East Ayrshire and in Liverpool.
“His values are as important today, as they were 60 years ago, and the generosity of the Spirit of Shankly, which is very much appreciated, is a fitting tribute to a great man.”
Stephen Monaghan, from the Spirit of Shankly, said: “On behalf of the Liverpool Disabled Supporters Association, we are absolutely delighted to donate a set of football strips to Muirkirk Primary School.
“The village of Muirkirk is synonymous with the great Bill Shankly and it is a fitting tribute that these football strips will be worn by the pupils of the school for years to come.
“This gesture cements our relationship with East Ayrshire Council and Muirkirk and we look forward to working with Vibrant Communities in the coming months as we begin our plans to host our first youth football tournament in East Ayrshire in 2022.”
Born in the tiny mining village of Glenbuck in 1913, Shankly served as Liverpool manager from 1959 and 1974, winning the league championships three times, the FA Cup twice and the UEFA Cup once.
Shankly died in 1981, aged 68.
The inscription on the Bill Shankly statue at Anfield reads ‘Bill Shankly- he made the people happy.’
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