Tommy Burns – For the Record

Tommy Burns POTY dance, band in the background

We received this great wee Tommy story by email – it followed on from the first wee story we posted about Tommy from one of his Kilmarnock players, Alan Kerr, which was warmly received.  Please share any other Tommy stories that you may have (  Thanks to Jamesie from Falkirk for sharing. 


Tommy told this story at a supporters function about five or so years before he sadly passed away.   It demonstrates the positive attitude to live that Tommy seemed to exude – and went down really well on the night.

A couple of months before Tommy had attended the funeral of one of his uncles (I think on his mother’s side).  It was a very sad occasion but Tommy found it uplifting at the same time as the family were allowed to play some of his Uncle’s favourite songs from his own record collection as part of the service.  He said this was a lovely touch and, although he’d heard about it before, it was the first funeral he’d attended where it happened.  Tommy, as many people know, was fond of a song himself (and I’m sure we got at least one rendition of ‘Mack The Knife’ that night) so it seemed to really appeal to him that songs other than hymns could be used at a sombre event like that, bringing a true personal touch to the proceedings.

On leaving the service Tommy noticed another one of his uncles standing outside, a brother of the uncle who had just died.  Unfortunately, this uncle was seriously ill himself and Tommy was struggling to find the right balance of what to say to comfort him without bringing up the uncle’s own health problems.  Tommy knew this uncle didn’t have long to live.  He just mentioned his other uncle’s favourite songs getting played and what a lovely touch he thought it was.  Then there was an awkward silence between them as the rest of people were leaving the service.

Tommy told the audience he was relieved to see one of his cousins approaching them – it was a son of the uncle he was speaking to, so he was looking forward to a change of mood to help the old man stop thinking about funerals and imminent death.  Unfortunately it wasn’t to be as his cousin strolled up to them and said to his father:  “Alright Da.  Have you been looking out aw yer auld records then?!?”

The audience was in stitches.  Not so much Gallows humour as Gallowgate humour.

I think of the story often when I remember the man and his incredible warmth – smiling and joking through adversity.  There was no one quite like TB.

Brian McClair

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The first wee TB story is here:

More Celtic Stories here:


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