Northern Ireland news

Jay Beatty's ‘pocket money' painting to aid motor neurone disease

Jennifer Maloney
03 February, 2016 16:34

HE famously won the heart of Celtic star Georgios Samaras, but schoolboy Jay Beatty has proved he's big hearted even when it comes to the club's rival's Rangers.

The 12-year-old from Lurgan has donated a painting of himself, commissioned with his own pocket money, with ex-Rangers player Fernando Ricksen, who is living with terminal motor neurone disease (MND).

The painting by Scottish artist Sean Mooney was created from a picture of Celtic FC Foundation ambassador Jay meeting Ricksen at Celtic Park in November 2015.

Jay first came to the public's attention when former Celtic player Samaras plucked the youngster from the crowd at Celtic Park and donated his league winners medal in 2014. 

Jay has gifted the artwork to MND Scotland and it will be auctioned off to raise vital funds at the charity's annual Cornflower Ball on March 11.

Jay presented the painting to MND Scotland at the statue of former Celtic player, Jimmy Johnstone, who died of MND almost 10 years ago in March 2006.

Former Rangers player Ricksen revealed in October 2013 that he had been diagnosed with MND - there is no known cause or cure.

There are approximately 120 people in Northern Ireland living with MND and 5,000 people throughout the UK have the rare neurological condition.

MND kills around a third of people within a year of diagnosis, and more than half within two years.

Iain McWhirter from MND Scotland said “Jay has paid for the painting out of his own pocket money and we’re really grateful to him for such a kind gesture.

"We’d also like to thank Sean for producing such a wonderful picture.

"The photo of Jay and Fernando has had so much interest on social media, and I’m sure this will help to raise a fantastic amount to help people affected by MND.

“We are opening up the auction of the painting to everyone, not just those attending the ball. "

Tony Hamilton, chief executive of Celtic FC Foundation said: “This is a wonderful gesture from Jay for a fantastic cause.

"We were very saddened to hear the news about Fernando, unfortunately at Celtic FC Foundation, we are all too familiar with motor neurone disease and we have a long association with charities who tackle the illness.

"We hope that Jay’s gift will help raise vital funds to continue this work."

:: For more information on the painting contact MND Scotland on 0141 332 3903 or email fundraising@mndscotland.org.uk.

03 February, 2016 16:34 Northern Ireland news