Skip to main content
News > Announcements > Scottish Football Legends Pay Tribute to Beloved Celtic Park Colleague Ahead of Charity Fundraiser

Scottish Football Legends Pay Tribute to Beloved Celtic Park Colleague Ahead of Charity Fundraiser

Pierre van Hooijdonk, Robert Douglas and Simon Ferry share messages of support to charity team taking on the West Highland Way including Celtic legend John Hartson.

A second mum to a youngster trying to make his way in the game. A welcoming figure to a new arrival at the club. The friendly smile on every matchday. Marie Milne was all of this and more to dozens of footballers who played for Celtic over her 20 years working at the club.

Now some of the biggest names in Scottish football are paying tribute to Marie, who was just 59 when she died in 2019 from the debilitating lung condition COPD.

They have thrown their weight behind a charity walk on the West Highland Way to raise vital funds for Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, which supports people across the country who are living with COPD.

Legendary names including former Netherlands striker Pierre van Hooijdonk, ex-Scotland goalkeeper Robert Douglas and midfielder and host of the Open Goal podcast Simon Ferry have shared their memories of Marie.

Pierre’s son Sydney – who plays for Dutch side Heerenveen – also recalls how she cared for him as a tiny tot.

Marie’s son, Chris Mullen, will be joined by former Celtic striker John Hartson and four of his closest friends to tackle the 96-mile route.

The team sets off this Sunday, May 1, aiming to complete the walk in six days and raise thousands for Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland.

Football legend, Pierre van Hooijdonk, said: “I met Marie when I arrived at Celtic in ’95 – a lovely lady, outspoken, and my biggest fan. I’m supporting Chris and the boys on their West Highland Way walk for COPD. Donate if you can. Good luck!”

Host of Open Goal podcast and Peterhead midfielder, Simon Ferry, said: “I first moved through to Celtic when I was 15, and Marie was one of the first women I met.

“She was the first face you’d see when you walked in the reception at Celtic Park and you couldn’t have met a nicer women.

“Obviously, me coming away from home at 15, it was tough but she was one of the people along with Angie, the kit woman, and with me not having my mum, they were kind of like my motherly figures at Celtic Park so I had a lot of time for Marie. It’s amazing what you are doing Chris, I just wish you all the best!”

Former Scotland goalkeeper, Robert Douglas, said: “I’d just like to wish Chris and all the boys that are doing the West Highland Way in memory of Marie, all the very best. Hopefully you raise lots of money.

“A great woman at Celtic, what you saw, was what you got. I always remember her fondly.

“Please, if possible, dig deep, support the boys and their effort to raise money for COPD. Thanks again, big Rab the fat cat. God bless you Marie.”

Sydney van Hooijdonk, Pierre’s son and centre forward for Heerenveen, said:

“I knew Marie since I was a small kid. She was a really nice woman and she is sadly missed for Chris, for us, for everyone who knew her. A lovely lady and I hope everyone can donate as much as possible because it’s a really important thing.”

Celtic legend John Hartson, 46, says: “When I was at Celtic as a player, I got to know Marie really well. In fact, she used to do all my fan mail. All the players loved her. She was a real character. And I was so sad when she passed away.

“I’ve always fancied doing the West Highland Way. My in-laws live just outside Fort William, and I always see the bench that marks the finishing spot and imagine how it would feel to reach it after all those miles. When Chris told me his plan, I instantly said I was in.”

Chris is no stranger to fundraising challenges, in 2020 he climbed Ben Nevis in memory of his mum and raised an incredible £7,300 for the charity.

Now, Chris and John, will lead a team of six in the challenge this May, aiming to raise funds for Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland with 10% of all funds raised going to the Scottish Ambulance Service Endowment Fund.

The team have already raised over £5,500 to help others affected by COPD.

Chris Mullen, 34, of Glasgow, says: “I wanted to do another big challenge to keep raising money for CHSS because of the vital work they do to care for people with COPD. My mum had COPD and so does my dad so it’s a cause that means a lot to me.

“I’m very thankful for the friends I have around me. After I lost my mum, it was a very hard time and if it wasn’t for them, I don’t know where I’d be.

“My mum touched a lot of people’s hearts at Celtic and everywhere she went. She called all my pals ‘her boys’ and they all miss her as well. Everyone that’s taking part is close to me and close to my mum.

“It’s amazing to see the support from everyone rallying behind us. We’ll just keep fighting on to keep raising awareness of COPD and help give people a longer life than 59 – that’s my aim anyway. If I can make a difference that’s what I’m going to keep doing.”

Jordan Hogg, Community and Events Fundraiser at Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, said:

“Chris has been an incredible support to the charity over the last few years. He’s raised thousands of pounds in his mum’s memory which is helping other families affected by COPD across Scotland get the help and support they need. He’s an inspiration.

“Please get behind the team as much as you can – every £20 raised funds an hour of support to help people with COPD live their lives to the full.”

The six-strong team who will set out from Milngavie on May 1 are: Chris Mullen, John Hartson, Robert Spiers, Brian Joyce, Dylan Docherty and Marc Milne.

You can donate to them at their GoFundMe page:

GoFundMe Page

People are leaving hospital feeling scared and alone. You can change that.

Your donation can help people do more than just survive – you can help them really live.

Donate

Simliar Articles

Latest News

Share this page
  • Was this helpful ?
  • YesNo