Ronnie pitches in to restore club

WHEN vandals smashed up the football club his grand-father had proudly played for 80 years ago, there was no way Ronnie Jamieson could stand back and watch.

The businessman, who owns a successful joinery firm in Midlothian, dipped into his pocket to repair the damage caused at the Dalkeith Thistle ground, knowing it is what his grandad would have wanted.

Mr Jamieson had read about the club’s plight in the Evening News last month after vandals smashed up its pay booths and splattered paint across its car park – the fourth time it had been targeted inside a year.

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They also broke into the portable building used for pre and post-match hospitality.

Thanks to the work Mr Jamieson has carried out for free, officials now hope the facilities are so secure they will not be breached again.

Mr Jamieson, who has sponsored the club in the past, said: “It’s a good cause and as a local business, we like to help local organisations.

“I’ve got a personal link because my grandfather and my father played for them.”

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Club officials have been so moved by Mr Jamieson’s gesture they have named the new booths after his grandfather Willie Jamieson, and erected a plaque.

It was in 1932 that the player helped Dalkeith Thistle win the prestigious Evening News trophy.

His grandson said: “It was their idea to name them after him, it’s a nice touch. They didn’t know anything about the connection.

“Hopefully, this will mean an end to the vandalism, too. The police are more focused on it now, but they can’t be everywhere and it is quite a secluded spot.”

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When the vandalism occurred, the club faced having to dig into its own reserves as it did not want to push up an insurance premium already tested by previous attacks.

Earlier this year, thugs attempted to burn down the enclosure at Kings Park, while there have been enduring problems with local youths using the pitch in the evenings and plastering the area with graffiti.

When officials removed the goalposts to discourage people from using the pitch illegally, the vandals found the poles and used them to destroy the pay booths, which jeopardised the club’s next fixture.

Vice president Jimmy Butt said he was thrilled with Mr Jamieson’s contribution.

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He said: “People have been great since the coverage in the paper. And Ronnie knows we are a small club but we’re in a big community.

“His donation of both the money and the time has been fantastic, and, of course, generations of his family played for the club.

“The new booths we named after his grandfather, and they are much safer now as well.

“We really just want to highlight how generous he has been.”