THE 2017 Tommy Burns Supper was held in the Kerrydale Suite at Celtic Park last Friday night and it was a full house, in celebration of the Celtic legend. The support from the Celtic family was outstanding, as always, and a wonderful total of around £15k net was raised for charity.
The event was delivered in partnership by Celtic FC Foundation and the Tommy Burns Skin Cancer Trust, in association with the Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh Universities CSC (HWEUCSC).
The HWEUCSC successfully ran a Tommy Burns Supper for many years but, understandably, they chose to retire it when Tommy sadly passed away. Following discussions with the Burns family, we felt the time was right for the return of the much-loved event.
Net proceeds of the 2017 Tommy Burns Supper will be shared equally between Celtic FC Foundation and the Tommy Burns Skin Cancer Trust.
The evening was hosted by Paul Reilly (HWEUCSC) and Gerry McDade and kicked off with a standing ovation from the 450 guests – including 210 members of the HWEUCSC – as a host of special guests were welcomed into the Kerrydale Suite: The Burns Family, Packie Bonner, Tom Boyd, Peter Grant, Tosh McKinlay, Brendan Rodgers, Billy Stark and Gordon Strachan.
Following a video piece reflecting on the wonderful career of Tommy Burns, Gerry McDade invited Brendan Rodgers to join him on stage – and the Celtic manager talked passionately about his admiration for Tommy Burns as a player, manager, coach and friend.
Following a HWEUCSC-style parade and address of the haggis – complete with The Celtic Song – and Grace before the meal from Father John Sweeney, dinner followed and guests were treated to a selection of Tommy’s favourite tunes.
Next up was Scottish broadcast journalist and lifelong Celtic supporter, Bernard Ponsonby. Born and raised in the Garngad, Bernard’s passion for the Hoops is unquestionable and his inspiring words about Tommy, the Club and the Celtic family earned him a standing ovation.
In between video pieces detailing the work of the evening’s two beneficiaries, Tom Boyd, Tosh McKinlay, Brendan Rodgers and Gordon Strachan took to the stage for a question and answer session, sharing a host of wonderful memories of Tommy.
Tommy’s son, Michael, and Celtic FC Foundation Chief Executive, Tony Hamilton, then provided a vote of thanks to all guests and supporters before the evening’s auction kicked off, complete with five fantastic lots. Following the auction, Gerry welcomed another host of Celtic favourites – Packie Bonner, Peter Grant and Billy Stark – to the stage to reminisce about Tommy and celebrate a unique and unforgettable man.
Guests were then treated to a music slot with a difference as HWEUCSC member (and a regular at previous Suppers) Peter Broughan performed his own unique songs.
Next up was the prize draw which was hosted by the Burns Family and the audience reacted magnificently, illustrating the love of the Celtic support for a man who will be forever in our hearts.
The penultimate – and perhaps most emotional – element of the evening was a video piece featuring Tommy singing Mack the Knife, completely acapella and absolutely stunning.
The proceedings were rounded off with a fantastic live music set from Kevin Smith, who was accompanied by Tosh McKinlay for a special rendition of the Fields of Athenry.
Celtic FC Foundation, the Tommy Burns Skin Cancer Trust and the HWEUCSC would like to thank each and every person who attended, supported or donated to the event. You’ve genuinely made a difference to the poorest and most vulnerable in our communities and in the fight against skin cancer.