CAMPAIGNERS backed by the Chronicle have taken a significant step towards recognition for the heritage of Glenbuck.

A series of meetings as well as the involvement of many organisations, both local and further afield, culminated in a recent get-together at Rothesay House in Cumnock.

Major hurdles have been overcome, not least the location of the former village, which lies within the boundary of restoration sites at Spireslack and Ponesk where work is ongoing.

For many years, fans of Liverpool FC have gone on a pilgrimage to the memorial to their former manager Bill Shankly OBE, Glenbuck’s most famous footballing export.

Barbara Alexander, niece of legend Shankly, and David Higgins on behalf of former Glenbuck resident, Sam Purdie, were in attendance as discussions took place.

Officers from East Ayrshire Council’s planning service and representatives from the owners, Scottish Mines Restoration Trust (SMRT), spoke of restoration and safety operations on these sites.

They considered how the restoration projects could be used to provide a lasting celebration and memorial to the village and its former residents including Shanks.

There will also be recognition of the junior football side which played in the village, Glenbuck Cherrypickers FC, as well as the 54 professional footballer players who came from the village.

David McDowall, the council’s operations manager, said: “The meeting was both

positive and encouraging, with many good ideas being brought forward on how the footprint of the former village of Glenbuck could be identified to provide a historical context for visitors, including specific proposals to honour those men and women who lost their lives in mining disasters in the locality.”

It was also proposed that, as a tribute to Bill Shankly, work should be undertaken to include the relocation within the former village of the existing memorial stone along with the provision of signage detailing the location of key buildings, including that of the Shankly family home, and also the football pitch where the Glenbuck Cherrypickers played.

Proposals will also be brought forward to pay a tribute to the Glenbuck footballers - many of whom went on to play professional football in Scotland and England.

Restoration projects at Ponesk and Spireslack are due to be concluded during September 2018. It is anticipated that the projects to formally mark the village and its residents will be concluded before September 3, the 106th Anniversary of Bill Shankly’s birth.

Mrs Alexander told the Chronicle that she was ‘delighted with the very successful meeting and was pleased to see progress on the projects and how they could be developed’.

SMRT added that they were delighted to be represented and in due course look forward to implementing the various action points agreed.

A spokesman said: “Community consultation remains key in all of their projects and will continue to form an essential component in developing a satisfactory outcome for their various properties.”

Further discussions of the detailed actions to deliver these projects will be discussed at the next community liaison meeting scheduled for August.