City footballer became minister to marry friends

Craig Barr officiates at the wedding of Curtis and Jakki Brock in New York. Picture: contributed
Craig Barr officiates at the wedding of Curtis and Jakki Brock in New York. Picture: contributed
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Madcap Raith Rovers defender Craig Barr, 27, swapped the dressing room for an American altar this week when he officiated at his best friend’s wedding after being ordained as a Humanist ­celebrant.

The former Liberton High School pupil lead the vows at Curtis and Jakki Brock’s rooftop ceremony in New York and also doubled as the best man.

Barr is renowned for the odd eccentricity having celebrated a birthday several years ago changing his middle name to “Mango” by deed poll.

Close friends since meeting at Liberton High School in 1999, groom Curtis insisted Barr conducted his marriage rather than enlisting a “random” New York minister.

But it wasn’t all smooth ­sailing.

It took several frantic phonecalls to US authorities and a eleventh-hour dash to the city clerk’s office on the big day to sign off on Barr’s ­Humanist credentials.

The Southside resident and former Livingston stalwart said: “It was a change from the day job.

“The couple asked me in January over casual conversation if I would like to marry them – as you do.”
Barr’s leading role at the wedding, near to the Empire State Building, was kept under wraps from the 40 guests – even the photographer was surprised when he launched into his order of service.

But far from his confident persona on the football field, Barr confessed to a bout of nerves at the ceremony fearing he would slip up or mispronounce words.

He said: “It was like the scene of a movie: I stood up and went in front of them and took the ceremony.

“I was incredibly nervous in the days coming up to it – I was shaking.

“I think I took some of the bride and groom’s nervousness off them a bit.

“It was so surreal, standing on the rooftop.

“I was overwhelmed and honoured that they had asked me.”

The footballer, who signed for Raith last month, said he took his role “seriously” but had to detach himself “to do the job properly”.

He said: “I did it as professionally and seriously as I could.”

And although Barr’s quirky full name appears on the marriage certificate and official documents – he says the story behind his bizarre “Mango” tag doesn’t live up to the 

“It’s the first question that people ask,” he said. “One day about ten years ago we were by the pool on a boys’ holiday and we just gave each other nicknames.

“I was Mango for no reason but it just stuck. The story doesn’t back up the name. It’s not as exciting as it sounds.”

Barr said Monday’s wedding still seemed “a bit crazy” but was “quite normal” for his band of of friends.

Although not planning to give up the day job, he said he wouldn’t rule out marrying other couples in future.

“Never say never,” he said.

“But the nerves I had beforehand, I don’t know if I could do that again.”