Events kick off to remember footballer Lawrence Haggart

Richard Fox, left, and Dennis Haggart to publicise this weekend's charity match in memory of Lawrence Haggart''Picture: Michael Gillen
Richard Fox, left, and Dennis Haggart to publicise this weekend's charity match in memory of Lawrence Haggart''Picture: Michael Gillen

Family and friends of tragic young footballer Lawrence Haggart will gather for two events in his memory.

The 15-year-old was brutally murdered 20 years ago today (Thursday) in his Larbert home.

His death devastated his parents, Janet and Larry, along with his brothers, John and Dennis, as well as the wider family and community.

Lawrence, a pupil at St Mungo’s High School, was on the brink of a promising football career – he had already been signed on S-form with Celtic and was a member of the Scotland Under-15 team.

However, all his hopes and aspirations were cruelly ended when he was discovered battered and tortured.

The initial investigation by Central Scotland Police into his death was flawed and eventually discredited.

Lawrence’s death came just four days after the Dunblane Primary School massacre and the force was already struggling to deal with the aftermath of that tragedy.

However, it wasn’t until 18 months after the murder that Detective Superintendent Joe Holden took over the inquiry which eventually led to a murder conviction for known paedophile Brian Beattie.

At the High Court in Edinburgh in 1998 Beattie was sentenced to life imprisonment and remains behind bars.

This weekend and next, two football events will take place to remember Lawrence, as well as raising cash for Millie’s Journey, a fund set up to benefit Airth youngster Millie McColl (3).

Last year, she was diagnosed with a tumour of the nervous system.

On Sunday, a football match will kick off at 4pm at Ochilview Park, Stenhousemuir, between two teams made up of around 30 players who are either relatives or played with Lawrence at St Mungo’s, Grangemouth BC or Celtic. Former Parkhead player Mark Burchill has promised to turn out for one of the sides, who will all wear special t-shirts bearing the schoolboy’s photograph.

Managing the teams will be Hugh Lynch, Lawrence’s rector at St Mungo’s, who also managed the school team, and Stuart Taylor, the Scottish Schoolboys’ head coach when the youngster played.

On Easter Sunday, March 27 a five-a-side tournament involving 100 players will take place on four pitches at Little Kerse in Grangemouth.

It kicks off at 1pm and the winners’ trophy has been donated by Celtic.

Both events are raising money for Millie’s Journey through donations and a raffle.

Brother Dennis, who will be taking part in the games, said: “It’s really fantastic that people are doing this and it shows that Lawrence hasn’t been forgotten.

“This means a lot to all the family, but particularly my mum.”

Richard Fox, who helped organise the Ochilview event, said: “Guys who played with Lawrence wanted to do something on this anniversary to show how much he meant to everyone.”

Organising the Little Kerse tournament with Dennis is Paul Keenan, who said: “It involves lots of people going who were lucky enough to be a part of Lawrence’s life. I can’t thank everyone enough for their generosity and kindness.”