Youth football team honours legacy of MND research champion

Two young male footballers wearing the black strip with the white Euan MacDonald Centre logo on the front

October 2020: A youth football side has teamed up with the Euan MacDonald Centre to raise awareness of MND

The Blackburn United under-16s from West Lothian have dropped their usual business sponsorship on their shirts this season to highlight research into MND and honour the legacy of Tam Agnew, who died of MND earlier this year, aged 45.

The team's home strips will bear the logo of the Euan MacDonald Centre for MND Research as a tribute to Tam and the work of his sister, Sharon Wallace, who has volunteered with the team over the last decade.

Tam volunteered for the Euan MacDonald Centre as a member of the MND-SMART advisory group, working alongside researchers on the development of the clinical drugs trial, the largest UK MND trial in a generation.

The move to drop commercial sponsors tor two seasons is a surprise gift for Tam’s sister, Sharon, as she steps down as secretary after ten years of service to the club.

Euan MacDonald Centre researchers Brenda Murage and Emily Beswick visited the players at the start of the season to share information about MND and highlight the importance of research.

Centre Co-founder Euan MacDonald said Tam had been a great champion for MND research and it was very moving to see his efforts recognised by the team. "Having the Euan MacDonald Centre logo on the team strips is a wonderful gesture and we are very proud to see the Centre promoted in this way."

Sharon Wallace said she was thrilled by the gesture. 

I’m touched that we can honour Tam in this way as youth football in West Lothian has been such a big part of both of our lives. His dedication to helping research really shone through and he was driven by helping others with MND. This is a really special parting gift as I step down from my role with the team.

Sharon Wallace

On behalf of Blackburn United, team secretary Alan Harris, added: “Sharon has been such a big part of this team for so long. We couldn’t think of a better way thank her for the contribution that she’s made to the team and to honour her brother, Tam, and his passion for football. I’m grateful to the researchers who have come down to speak to the boys to explain the vital work being done by The Euan MacDonald Centre. The boys will now be able to wear their new home kits with a real understanding as well as pride.”

Related links

Tam Agnew's profile on the MND-SMART Clinical Trial website

This article was published on: Tuesday, October 06, 2020