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Thousands of pounds raised to improve Markinch Ibrox Disaster memorial as Rangers lend support

Ibrox Disaster memorial in Markinch, Fife
The Markinch memorial Image: Kim Cessford/DC Thomson.

Thousands of pounds has been raised to improve a memorial to five Markinch boys killed in the 1971 Ibrox Disaster – with Rangers themselves lending their support.

Locals want to improve the site and protect it from damage caused by people driving over the grass surrounding it.

The £10,000 project would see a wrought iron fence installed alongside granite chips surrounding the memorial and the addition of a bench.

The monument honours five school boys from the Fife town who were killed in the disaster –  Ronald Paton, 14, Bryan Todd, 14, Mason Philip, 14, Douglas Morrison, 15, and Peter Easton, 13.

Ibrox Disaster Markinch boys' funeral
Bystanders line the road as the funeral procession for the boys passes through Markinch. Image: PA

It acts as a focal point for locals to pay their respects each year on the anniversary of the fateful Old Firm game, which took place on January 2 1971.

Glenrothes resident Ronnie Bayne has launched the fundraiser to help pay for the planned improvements.

Support has poured in from Rangers supporters’ groups across Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Damage has been caused in the past due to cars and vans driving over the grass. Image: Steve Brown/DC Thomson.

Rangers midfielder Ryan Jack has also shared a link to the fundraiser on social media.

Ronnie told The Courier: “There has been damage at the memorial before, including several months ago due to vans and cars driving over the grass to try to get into the park.

“It has caused a lot of mess around the stone and we were trying to see what we could do to stop it.

Ibrox Disaster Memorial Markinch
The names of the five boys killed in the disaster. Image: Kim Cessford/DC Thomson.

“The idea of a fence came up, but it wasn’t really getting anywhere, so we [Glenrothes Loyal Rangers Supporters’ Club] decided we’d do the fundraiser.

“The support is fantastic, after only starting it a few days ago. I’m hopeful we’ll reach the target and that will be brilliant.

“We’re looking to raise in the ballpark of £10,000, but anything near that would be really good.

“Any extra money will go into the local community, whether it’s Markinch itself or the local area.”

Fundraiser’s personal significance

The fundraiser has personal significance for Ronnie, who knew the five boys and attended the match himself.

A total of 66 people died and more than 200 were injured in a crush as supporters tried to leave the stadium.

Ronnie said: “I knew the boys personally. I had just turned 17 at the time.

“The bus from Glenrothes was full, so I went through [to Ibrox] in a car with some older ones.

Locals gather each year to remember those killed. Image: Kim Cessford/DC Thomson.

“We were back in Glenrothes when someone said there had been an accident at Ibrox, at that time they didn’t have radios in cars or anything like that.”

Ronnie says it is important to remember those who died and ensure one of Britain’s worst football disasters is not forgotten.

He added: “It will be there for years and years to come and will be a legacy to them. It was placed on Park View because it looks down the street four of them lived on.”

The effort has been supported by local councillors who represent Glenrothes North, Leslie and Markinch, as well as Fife Council and Markinch Community Council.

Rangers to support Markinch fundraising efforts

A Rangers spokesman said: “The story of the five Markinch boys is one which continues to touch every Rangers supporter the world over.

“Each of the 66 who passed away in the Ibrox Disaster are always remembered, and the club are pleased to hear of this fantastic fundraising drive to improve the memorial in Markinch.

“Indeed, the club are delighted to be supporting a fundraising event in aid of the memorial early next year.”

The event in Glenrothes in March at the Ciswo bar will include an appearance from Rangers legend Graeme Souness.