Celebrating 30 Years of Football & Friendship
In 1985, a group of friends decided to use sport, football specifically, as a way of keeping fit and staying in regular contact. Light nights and weather permitting, the group regularly visited various locations including Broomfield Park and the car park of the old St. Conval’s Secondary School in Cumnock but a more regular and accessible solution was required. As luck would have it, the former Cumnock & Doon Valley District Council embarked on a policy of providing leisure facilities within all of the local villages.
A friend of the group, Tommy Milgrew, worked within Mauchline Games Hall and when a slot became available from 7-8pm one Wednesday night; this was offered as a short term solution. At the time, different sports were given designated nights - football and Wednesdays were not affiliated. However, the group accepted this slot on the last Wednesday in October 1985, knowing that they may need to step aside if other users needed to be accommodated. 30 years later, the group still occupy the same ‘temporary’ spot!
The original line up comprised mainly of three sets of brothers; Gregor and Andy Caldwell, Colin, Clive and Scott Livingstone and Dav and Gary McGaw. All had been lifelong school friends and Killie supporters. Over the years, other friends, family and workmates were seconded to make up the eight and this has now evolved to a second generation of players. Of the original players, Gregor, Clive and Gary still play every week. Dav sadly lost his battle with cancer in early 2015 but remained a part of the team until last autumn. Rightly so, the group are proud of their commitment and their strictly amateur status, although one member, Robert Donnelly (uncle of former Celtic player, Simon Donnelly), played professionally with Falkirk, making him their most famous player!
Reflecting on the past thirty years, group leader Gregor Caldwell praised the assistance of the staff over the years. Gregor particularly thanked staff at Mauchline Games Hall who have been “exceptional and real friends to us” including Geordie Farrell, Tommy Milgrew, Margaret Paterson, Morag Gillies, Liz Milgrew, Eva Duncan and Ian Savage. Morag Gillies who worked regularly on Wednesday evenings died tragically young and “was a real friend of the group and is sadly missed by all of us”.
The group held a 30th anniversary commemorative party at Cumnock Rugby Club on Saturday 7th November in the company of players past and present. The occasion included a charity raffle in memory of Dav McGaw with proceeds being donated to the Friends of the Beatson. The Group also received letters acknowledging their fantastic achievement from John Griffiths, Chief Executive of East Ayrshire Leisure and from Local MP and fellow Killie fan Alan Brown.