Uddingston and Bellshill MSP Richard Lyle has welcomed early progress being made in the delivery of a fitting tribute to Bellshill sporting hero Billy McNeill.
Following two successful public meetings, co-hosted by Mr Lyle, Bellshill councillor Jordan Linden and local man, Edward Lynas – a committee has been formed to progress plans for a statue in the Lison Lion’s home town following his death in April.
The Billy McNeill Commemoration Committee, as they are now titled, elected key office bearers and are receiving support from North Lanarkshire Council to consider potential sites for a statue to be placed and the committee will be meeting in coming months to consider fundraising initiatives.
Earlier this month Mr Lynas revealed £15,000 is being made available by the council through the Local Area Partnership.
Mr Lyle said: “I’m pleased that the committee has now been established in order to progress the tribute to Billy McNeill. As someone who has never had intense interest in football, this matter is one really about supporting the creation of a tribute to a sporting hero from Bellshill.
“Putting Bellshill on the map and recognising there is an opportunity to inspire future generations of young sports people to aspire to represent Scotland and our community on a European and international Stage.
“I look forward to continuing to support the committee as they explore their plans further and I hope that local people will get behind supporting this community led idea.”
Councillor Linden added: “I am pleased these plans for a tribute to the late Billy McNeill are progressing.
“We often hear “legacy” being discussed when it comes to sports and events like the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games.
“But local individual’s like Billy McNeill should have their legacy shared and serve as inspiration for many in our communities particularly local young sportspeople - as to what can be acheieved and the opportunities available to represent ones country.
“I look forward to continuing to support the committee and wish them well with their future plans.”
Billy’s former school Our Lady’s High is also paying tribte with construction work on the new ‘Billy McNeill Sports Park’ underway.