Update From Big Hearts - The Future

Big Hearts chairman Jim Panton has today written this open letter to supporters as the charity prepares for significant changes early in 2015, following on from last night’s biggest ever fundraiser held at Tynecastle.

Dear Supporters,

I wanted to take the opportunity to thank supporters after last night’s Big Hearts Big Reunion. We were joined by 360 guests for a night of reminiscence about what we believe makes our club very special. It was a fantastic occasion, and it was terrific to meet so many of you.

It is heartening to be able to tell you that we raised in excess of £13,000 for Big Hearts, our club’s charity.

On behalf of the board of trustees I thank you for your generosity in the night, as we move towards a significant moment in Big Hearts’ history.

Now eight years’ old, Big Hearts has led the way in community strategy at football clubs in Scotland. Indeed half a dozen or so clubs have models which reflect Big Hearts’ approach.

Now is the time for change, and a change we can all be a part of.

The challenges that club has borne in recent years, culminating in Ann Budge’s majority purchase of Hearts, and her unique agreement with the Foundation of Hearts bear reflection of the social conscience Hearts now has. That is a responsibility for all of us.

Last night I was pleased to be able to announce that Ann Budge has accepted an invitation to join the board at Big Hearts Community Trust. In doing so she becomes the first “owner” in our history to commit to playing a significant part in what we do. We are honoured she has agreed to step forward.

As part of further changes we welcome Billy Watson, the chief executive of Scotland’s biggest mental health charity SAMH to join us. A Hearts season ticket holder, Billy brings some of the most extensive charity experience to our board, which will become extremely relevant come the New Year.

Big Hearts is about to change. We are about to do something very different. We see this as our responsibility.

We will redefine what Heart of Midlothian’s community programme is all about.

Big Hearts will become a charity for families. We will re-define the meaning of 'family' within the football community.

Too often being part of a club’s “family” is a (cheap) marketing strategy designed to force supporter sales. For us being part of the “Hearts Family” will be about helping our own, those who are important to us and who have stood by us. We will support families as part of our commitment to the many who support the club.

That means we are going to evolve Big Hearts into a “family focused” charity which supports all generations within the families that make up the communities we serve by leading, coordinating and facilitating meaningful activities and support where need is identified.

As part of this change Big Hearts will hand all football development matters back to the club. Hearts is now fantastically well organised and best placed to integrate all football matters from grassroots development, such as coaching courses and coach development into its new football strategy.

This means another significant change. I announced last night that Alan White, our chief executive since Big Hearts was set up in 2006 will return to the club to take up a senior football development role. As such in early 2015 a new general manager will be appointed to take day to day charge of Big Hearts’ activities. They will come from a charity background, and have the experience to work with a busy football club.

I want to pay the warmest tribute to Alan White. Thousands of supporters know him and his incredible passion, drive and charisma. He has “been” Hearts’ community programme for the last eight years – and bar a short spell away – many years before that. He embodies everything which is good about this club, and so this change is one which we are happy to support.

Alan will always be a friend of Big Hearts, and he has committed to continue to support the charity and the new General Manager, when appointed.

We might be taking the ball away from Big Hearts – but never the badge.

We will always use the power of the club’s crest to support families who really, really need our help. Our first programme will be announced in detail in January, but I was able to tell supporters last night that our focus will be on Kinship Carers, an area we have identified with City of Edinburgh Council is a priority for support in the capital.

Additionally, I want to thank outgoing directors who step down after significant contributions. I’d like to personally thank vice chairman David Henderson, David Southern, Brian Fallon and Ali Russell who formally step down at our charity’s AGM on 5th December.

Our revised board will be myself (chairman), Lawrence Broadie (marketing, communications & operations), Billy Watson (charity strategy), David Bruce (representing City of Edinburgh Council director of education Gillian Tee), and Ann Budge (Heart of Midlothian). We are in the final stages of appointing a final trustee who will take a financial and corporate role.

I shall update you again in the New Year, when Ann Budge has formally joined our board with detail about our future plans, but I am sure I can count on thousands of supporters to take the responsibility we bear and help Hearts once again be the most community focused club in the country. This is a time for us to all have Big Hearts – very Big Hearts!


Jim Panton

Chairman, Big Hearts Community Trust


Big Hearts Big Reunion - Update for Ticket Holders

With only days until Big Hearts Big Reunion, we would like to ensure all ticket holders are aware of the run of events ahead of us on Saturday evening. A great night is in store and we would like to take this opportunity to thank all who have supported us by purchasing tickets.

Doors will open at 5pm for the live showing of the Falkirk vs Heart of Midlothian match which kicks off at 5.30pm. The game may be shown in the Willie Bauld Suite, although this will be decided on the evening, depending on the numbers who wish to watch the game with us. It should be noted that ONLY ticket holders for Big Hearts Big Reunion can join us to watch the game live.


From 8pm we will begin to welcome all guests into the Gorgie Suite for our evening entertainment and at this point tables, which are not reserved, can be accessed. We would like to reassure event ticket holders who are also going to the Falkirk stadium to support Hearts, that they will not miss a moment of entertainment. We do ask everyone makes their way to the Suite at the earliest possible opportunity.

We would like to announce that the Big Hearts Big Reunion will be now be presented by Forth one host and former Tynecastle stadium announcer Mark McKenzie. In another change to the original plan we will have the highly regarded, Sheriff Lindsay Wood as our main guest speaker.

A full list of auction items will be published on Thursday evening.



Stephane and Takis Coming Home

Big Hearts is delighted to reveal that Scottish Cup Winning legends Stephane Adam and Takis Fyssas are both returning to Tynecastle to attend Big Hearts Big Reunion on Saturday the 15th November.

Stephane, scorer of what proved to be the winning goal in Hearts cup win in 1998, will join some of his teammates from that wonderful day, in jetting into the capital.

Takis a star of Hearts unforgettable season in 2006, explained his delight at coming 'home' and admitted he has been waiting for the opportunity to spend time with the Hearts fans, whom he has so much time for.

Takis and Stephane join an ever growing and special list of ex Hearts' stars who will be attending. This list includes; Thomas Flogel, Bruno Aguiar, Danny Grainger, Stephen Elliott and Craig Beattie.

Whilst the evening is a sell out, with 350 confirmed guests, we can confirm we have been able to secure one more VIP/Corporate table available for purchase. This will include premium seating on the evening for 10 people, a bucket of beer, bottles of wine and food for your guests. This is priced at £500 and can be booked by emailing now!


Big Hearts Big Reunion Supported by DPS Group

Big Hearts is delighted to announce that DPS Group will be the main supporter of the Big Hearts Big Reunion, which takes place on Saturday the 15th of November in the Gorgie Suite at Tynecastle. The link up with DPS has helped ensure even more former Hearts Heroes can be in attendence on what is sure to be a fantastic evening.


DPS Group has been a supporter of Big Hearts Community Trust for a number of years now and earlier this year the group provided the biggest single corporate donation ever received by the trust. DPS Group is an established supplier of instrumentation sales, electrical services instrumentation project management and system integration for industrial and process control.

Martin Brownlee DPS Systems Managing Director said:

“DPS Group are delighted to be supporting the Big Hearts Big Reunion. As an avid supporter of the Big Hearts Community Trust, we are pleased to have the opportunity to get behind a worthy and enjoyable event that should hopefully raise funds for such a great cause."

The latest two additions to the event line up will be announced shortly. Both are cup winners and cannot wait to visit 'home' for the weekend.


Robertson's Rovers put on great show for Legends Team

Big Hearts would like to say a huge thanks to Jambo Kevin Robertson and his friend Mark Russell for organising our most recent Hearts Legends game. The game, played at Penicuik Park, raised a fantastic £3,000 for good causes.

The idea for the charity game came after Kevin and Mark decided to do something as a tribute to Kevin's grandad, Mark's brother and other family members who had died from cancer.

Kevin said, "My Grandad died on 19 May 2013, one year after our famous cup win against Hibs and he always encouraged me to follow Hearts. He was born and bred in Penicuik and lived there all his life and also followed Penicuik Athletic. Mark's brother Gavin lost his life to cancer at the young age of 37 he also loved football. Both myself and Mark have been avid Hearts supporters all our lives following Hearts home and away. The match against the legends felt like a fitting way to remember our loved ones - whilst raising money for charity.

"At present we are on course to raise close to £3,300. This is being split evenly between Marie Curie, Cancer Research and the Big Hearts Community Trust. The day itself was fantastic, the weather was great the game was lively and full of action with the legends showing their class and winning 7-3. The best thing about it was everyone came off the pitch smiling having enjoyed the occassion and it is a credit to Hearts for providing this opportunity of a lifetime and helping to raise cash for great charities."

Picture: the Hearts Legends team on the day including Robbo, Ian Ferguson, Jose Quitongo, Henry Smith, David Murie, Brian McNaughton, Alan Lawrence, Neil Irvine and Jimmy Sandison alongside everyone from Robertson's Rovers.