Sunday, 14 July 2013

A Celtic Man in Paradise; Remembering Reamonn

As I wandered around the Hamilton Palace football grounds on a bright June day, it was obvious something big was going on. Over 2000 footballers of all ages and abilities were taking part in games spread over all the pitches. Over 6000 people turned up to support the event and here and there were former professional players from Celtic and Hibs as well as local MPs. Even Broxi Bear was wandering around to the obvious delight of some of the younger children. All of this wonderful festival of football had been created to honour one young man.

 I never met Reamonn Gormley but those who knew him speak of a warm, decent and very giving young man. A young man on the cusp of adulthood who was working hard at University and still finding time when he could to watch his beloved Celtic. We in the Celtic family know of his work with the Good Child Foundation in Thailand and we also watched the outpouring of genuine grief at his passing. The demonstration in his home town sought to honour Raemonn’s memory as well as, lambast the stupidity of the knife culture which persists in Scotland. It was attended by many hundreds of local people from all walks of life. To his family and friends, who knew him best, the loss must be even more keenly felt. Social media sites and blogs have been utilised to remember Raemonn and the heartfelt and touching messages there are testimony to the genuine affection many felt for this fine young man. Even those who never met him took the time to leave messages. One I read simply said… ‘I am a Rangers Supporter but at times like these we are all one.’ How true.

 The Soccer festival in Hamilton which bears Reamonn’s name brought together thousands of people from across all sectors of the community and was a demonstration that some good can come out of such tragedy. We in the Celtic family have always tried to help those less fortunate. Indeed, it is why our club was founded. The Good Child Foundation in Thailand received a huge boost in funds following Reamonn’s passing as many sought to show their respects in a positive way. The Thai Tims have recently completed their School Hall and named it in his honour. It is of course decorated in the colours of the club he loved. This is the legacy we should help create for Reamonn. A legacy which supports those less fortunate, which says no to hate and which celebrates his life.

Of course, nothing can fill the void in the lives of those who loved and lost this wonderful young man but perhaps it eases the pain to know he isn’t forgotten and that much good still flows from his life. It was, by all accounts, a life well lived despite being so tragically short.  I’ll leave you with the words of one of the many people who left messages on a blog set up in Reamonn’s memory. (Link below) Those of us who are people of faith live in the hope that death is not the end and perhaps these words echo that…

A Celtic Man in Paradise

 Although I’m gone, it’s not goodbye

So try to smile and do not cry

I’ve found my heaven in the skies

I’m a Celtic man in Paradise


With golden skies and fields of green

A heaven that’s beyond your dreams

Where Celtic fans can call their own

A place called ‘You’ll never walk alone’


Where every day I meet new friends

In a Paradise that never ends

Where smiling faces beam with Pride

To see our colours side by side


So live your life and please don’t dwell

And be at peace, I’m safe and well

In fields of green and golden skies

I’ll wait for you in paradise…

(By Angela McGovern)


Rest in Peace Reamonn.

We remember you with pride. We won’t forget.


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