Ryan Baird's family to be guests of honour at Rangers legends match
Ex Rangers player and motor neurone disease sufferer Fernando Ricksen has invited family members of bus crash victim Ryan Baird to be special guests at his Rangers Legends V England Select charity match.
Ryan’s mum Maree and fiancee Sarah will present a trophy named in Ryan’s honour at the match, with proceeds going to the Fernando Ricksen MND Foundation.
Members of the Nith Valley Loyal Supporters Club, who Ryan was travellling with in the coach, will also attend the match.
Larne man Ryan, who had moved to Sanquhar in Dumfries and Galloway and was engaged to be married to Sarah next August, lost his life on Saturday October 1 after a coach transporting Rangers fans to the Ibrox Stadium overturned in East Ayrshire.
He was laid to rest on October 15 in a funeral attended by Rangers manager Mark Warburton at Magheramorne Presbyterian Church.
The charity match, due to be held on March 6 2017 at Fleetwood Stadium, will see players including Paul Scholes, Arthur Numan, Jorge Albertz, Michael Mols, Charlie Miller and Ronald Waterreus turn out for the Gers side.
Meanwhile, Frank Sinclair, Dave Beasant and Graham Roberts will represent England.
Ryan’s dad Alex said that naming the prize the Ryan Baird memorial trophy was a “lovely tribute” to his son.
“I’m proud to have Ryan associated with this,” he told the Times.
“Ryan would be overwhelmed if he knew his name was on this trophy and it would be presented in front of all those legendary players.
“This is a great legacy of good work to leave.”
Speaking on Monday, Alex paid tribute to the ongoing support which the family have received from Rangers, which he says has “meant a lot.”
“They have been very good to the family, it wasn’t a one-off offer of support, they have helped us throughout this,” he continued.
“Several members of the family have been invited over to the match against St Johnstone tomorrow (October 26) into the VIP box, and they will have a minute’s applause in the 39th minute in Ryan’s memory.
“We really appreciate their support, Rangers is like a big family.
“It meant a lot to have the manager Mark Warburton and the assistant manager David Weir at the funeral, and also to have the Managing Director Stewart Robertson and Mark Warburton at the service in Scotland.
“It shows we are not far from their thoughts.”