10 Balcarres Road, Musselburgh, EH21 7SD, East Lothian, Scotland

A FUNDRAISING appeal to provide lasting memorials to Open champions at Musselburgh is gathering pace.

Open champions at Musselburgh

So far, £3,500 has been raised towards the £5,000 target which will see game legends David ‘Deacon’ Brown, Bob Ferguson and Jack White remembered in the town’s graveyard at Inveresk.

The initiative is being led by Stevie Hill, captain of Musselburgh Old Course Golf Club, who noticed there were grave markers for Mr Ferguson, a three-time Open champion, and Mr White, but no headstones. He also wants to properly recognise Mr Brown, who is buried there too.

He has launched a crowdfunding page to raise funds for headstones, with details of their victories to be installed, as a reminder of their sporting prowess on the links and their connections with Musselburgh. It currently stands at £1,471.

Musselburgh Golf Club at Monktonhall also handed over a cheque for £500 after reading about the fundraising appeal in the Musselburgh Courier.

A further £1,500 was raised at the annual charity day at Musselburgh Old Course, when entrants paid £10 to compete for prizes and an auction for four ball games at different courses was held.

Mr Hill said the event usually attracted about 100 players but, this year, due to the Covid-19, it was restricted to members, attracting about 60 golfers.

He added: “I am delighted at the generous response to the appeal and wish to thank Musselburgh Golf Club and all those who supported the charity day as well as those who have made crowdfunding donations.”

He is keen to made contact with relatives of Jack White to get their permission to install a headstone for him. Mr Hill can be contacted on 07789 374666.

Stuart Wright, captain at Musselburgh Golf Club, said: “It was a great honour and privilege to hand over the cheque for £500 – we hope that it goes a long way to reaching the target.”

Mr White was born at Pefferside, near Whitekirk, in 1873 and died in Musselburgh in 1949, aged 75. He is remembered as the winner of the 1904 Open Championship at Royal St George’s.

Mr Ferguson, who was born in Musselburgh in 1846 and died in the town in 1915, won a hat-trick of consecutive titles at the Open Championship in 1880 (at Musselburgh), 1881 and 1882.

He became Custodian of the Links at Musselburgh and taught the boys of Loretto School how to play golf.

Mr Brown, who was born in Musselburgh in 1861 and died, aged 75, at Inveresk in 1936, won the 1886 Open Championship and finished second in the 1903 US Open.

In total, he had 12 top-10 finishes in Major championship tournaments.

The cemetery is also the resting place of famous Open champions Willie Park Snr – the first to lift the both from Wallyford.

In 1974, Musselburgh Town Council, with Royal Musselburgh Golf Club, erected a stone to mark Willie Park Snr’s grave. This, and Willie Jnr’s wall-mounted stone, were cleaned and re-lettered with help from the Old Musselburgh Club in 2007.

The only Open champion whose grave is as yet undiscovered is that of their relative Mungo Park, who won in 1874, coming from a career as a seaman to have his name inscribed on the Claret Jug. No burial marker has yet been found for him.