Let’s Get This Over The Line – The Billy McNeill Commemoration Committee close in on £70k target for new statue at Bellshill Cross

The Billy McNeill statue at the entrance to the Celtic way outside Celtic Park was installed in December 2015. Sculptor John McKenna created the sculpture in bronze and shows the image of McNeill holding the European cup aloft. Perhaps the most iconic image in the history of Celtic.

That statue is a fitting tribute to Celtic’s European Cup winning captain and Billy’s hometown Bellshill are looking to do the same.

The Billy McNeill Commemoration Committee has been raising funds for some time and now need one last push to reach their £70,000 target for the statue – that already has council approval – for a spot at Bellshill Cross.

On the Celtic Noise fans forum well known member ‘Bellshill Bhoy’ has been shining a light on just that. I’ll let him pick up the story on the fundraising efforts and how Celtic fans can get involved:

“Hi guys, I know times are tough for everyone at the moment, but if you got a few extra quid/dollars/euros/shekels.”

The Billy McNeill Commemoration Committee in Bellshill this week announced they are only £7500 off the £70,000 needed to erect a statue in memory of the Celtic legend.

With the #StatueForCesar campaign reaching its climax, the Official Celtic Opus will be raffled at a cost of £10 per ticket in the hope of reaching their target in the coming weeks. It was donated to the campaign by Celtic FC archivist Frank Hannaway of the Celtic Graves Society,

Signed by all surviving members of the Lisbon Lions, the giant volume tells the inside story of Celtic FC from its foundation in 1888, via Jock Stein’s heroes of 1967, to the modern-day successes of Martin O’Neill and Gordon Strachan.

Frank Devine of the Billy McNeill Commemoration Committee said: “This is no ordinary tome. Four years in the making, weighing 40kg, it is half-a-metre square and costs an eye-watering £1967. It is a monumental publication taking the viewer on a journey way beyond the scope of previous history books on the club.”

And the winner of the definitive history of the club will be announced following a live draw on Facebook on July 14.

Frank added: “The committee hope that as many people as possible purchase tickets for this unique work of art. By doing so, we ensure ownership of the McNeil statue in Bellshill is spread as far as is possible among the Celtic family, and by purchasing a ticket for the Official Celtic Opus fans will be playing their part in building a lasting memorial to the legendary Billy McNeill.”

You can donate via The Billy McNeill Commemoration Committee’s Facebook page by following the link below.

https://www.facebook.com/StatueforCesar/

Meanwhile the Bellshill Brigada CSC are raising funds for the cause with a mammoth cycle ride from Bellshill to Perth. One they completed successfully:

We are doing a 100km cycle to raise money for the Billy McNeill statue, starting in Billys hometown of Bellshill finishing in Perth! The statue has been approved by the council and is currently around 8k short of the funds needed.’

Tom Boyd lent his support to the fundraising efforts of CSC members, Stephen Harper, Jamie Cairney, Cha Brown Graham ” Graz” McCluskey, Michael Baxter and Michael McCormick as they set off from The Orb bar at 7am yesterday morning.

You can contribute to the Bellshill Brigada crowdfunding drive by following the link below.

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/bellshillbrigadacsc?utm_term=gez89xEQy

It looks like The Billy McNeill Commemoration Committee are now so close to achieving their fundraising target and with it will come a fitting memorial to Billy McNeill in the town he was born. Here Joe McShane of the Billy McNeill memorial campaign explains the plans for the statue.

Times are of course tough financially for many at the moment, however if anyone can donate a few pounds to a worthwhile cause please help push the fundraising efforts over the line. They are now within touching distance of that £70,000 target.

Niall J

About Author

As a Bellshill Bhoy I was taken to my first Celtic game in the summer of 1987. It was Billy McNeill’s return to Celtic Park as manager and Celtic lost 5-1 to Arsenal . I thought I was a jinx, I think my Grandfather might have thought the same. It was finest gift anyone ever gave me when he walked me through Parhead's gates.

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