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Memorial match to celebrate Ullapool football stalwart Kenny Raigie resurrected by Tain grandson

By Niall Harkiss

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A memorial football trophy first introduced in 1976 will be resurrected this weekend as Lochbroom and Tain Thistle lock horns in memory of a much-loved Ullapool footballer.

The Kenny Raigie trophy was first played for between Ullapool and a Ross-shire select team in 1976 to commemorate the passing of one of the west coast team's most fondly remembered players.

Kenny "Raigie" Macleod, bottom left, pictured with the Ullapool team in 1975.
Kenny "Raigie" Macleod, bottom left, pictured with the Ullapool team in 1975.

Described as a tough and passionate footballer, Kenny “Raigie” Macleod was a marine engineer in the merchant navy, before becoming a chief engineer on the Ullapool to Stornoway ferry.

Kenny's daughter Janice Maclellan has fond memories of her father on the football field, playing for Ullapool FC.

She said: "My Dad was football crazy. I can remember the excitement in our house when there was a game on. My friends and I would wait outside the changing rooms at the swing park, to see my Dad and the other players when they came out. I was always awestruck to see him changed into his strip.

"I would be trying to catch his eye as he and my uncle John and uncle Donnie jogged past, their studs clattering alarmingly up the school lane. But they would always be 'in the zone' - totally focused on the game ahead. Happy memories. And it still makes me happy to know how much he loved it."

Kenny was just 35 years old when he took to the field on June 20, 1975, as Ullapool hosted Inver in a Friday evening fixture.

Tragically, Kenny suffered a brain haemorrhage and died that evening on the pitch. He left behind his wife Janette and two daughters Jenny and Janice.

Kenny and Janette.
Kenny and Janette.

The following year, Janette bought a trophy and organized a match in his memory, with the intention that it would be played annually – which it was for many years before it fell into abeyance.

Thirty years on, the trophy has now been resurrected thanks to Kenny's grandson, John Maclellan – who runs Easter Ross amateur club Tain Thistle.

In a fitting tribute to Kenny's Ullapool roots, Maclellan has organised for his side to host Lochbroom FC in a match at Tain on Saturday, July 29, with the trophy to be presented to the winner.

The game will also decide the outcome of their quarter-final tie in the Mackay Cup.

John Maclellan said: "Kenny is, and always will be, missed and deeply loved by those he left behind. Playing this match in his memory will be a chance for old friends to remember him, and for new friendships and connections to be made through the sport that Kenny loved so much."

The game will also be used to raise funds for the Ullapool Medical Practice.

Maclellan added: "On that day in 1975, Ullapool health services did all they could. Tain Thistle will be fundraising and raising match-day money through raffles etc, to donate to the health centre clinic in Ullapool. Please visit the Tain Thistle facebook page if you would be interested in making a donation."

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