Doyle Cup football medal prompts search for Ayton-born Margaret

1912/13 Borders amateur football league medal, that belonged to George Mann
1912/13 Borders amateur football league medal, that belonged to George Mann

Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle presented a cup to a Borders football club early in the last century – and the discovery leaves a mystery, appropriately, unsolved.

The Conan Doyle Cup, presented by Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who became a patron of the Border Amateur League, was first competed for in 1905. Some websites say the whereabouts of the trophy is not known, but it is believed to have been gifted during the Second World War as a prize for tournaments between regiments.

The story of the cup was discovered, as far as it goes, by Newcastle woman Grace Lee, who is compiling her family history.

And now Mrs Lee, whose relatives on her father’s side, the Mann family, come from Galashiels, is trying to locate a Margaret Yule, who was born in Ayton in 1958.

Margaret’s parents were James and Christine (nee Mann) Yule, and the family lived in Huntspool, Earlston. Margaret’s grandparents, James and Meg Mann, also lived in Earlston.

Mrs Lee, whose father James Mann was Christine’s cousin, is hoping that Margaret can provide information regarding old family amateur football medals.

She explained: “Whilst researching the Mann family tree I decided to try to find out more about 1912/13 Borders Amateur football medals I have in my possession belonging to my grandfather, George Mann, and his brother John (who died in WW1 in 1918).

“The medals are Doyle Cup 1912/13 medals, one inscribed G Mann and the other J Mann. They both played for Gala Thorn FC in the Borders Amateur League that year and I also have a photograph of the team.”

After appealing for information last year, Mrs Lee was contacted by a Borders man who had an identical Doyle Cup 1912/13 medal, inscribed Jas Mann. He also has a 1919 Galashiels FC Factory Competition medal from 1919 inscribed James Mann, and a 1924 Gold Medal awarded when Gala Rovers beat Stow FC, inscribed J Mann.

“My grandfather and his brother John were keen amateur footballers and I have always known about their connection to Gala Thorn,” Mrs Lee explained. “However, they had a younger brother, James, and although I was not aware of the connection, I don’t think there is any doubt that he is in the photo of the 1912/13 Gala Thorn team.”

The collector who owns the medals of James Mann bought them as one lot around 2007 from a shop in Coldstream. Also in the lot was another medal which has a red Lion Rampant on a yellow enamel background.

“There are a lot of coincidences here but we think they are the medals of my grandfather’s brother, James Mann, and I need to prove the connection,” Mrs Lees said. “This is purely a sentimental story and I would love to be able to reunite these medals.

“Margaret Yule would only have been three at the time of her grandfather’s death, but maybe stories were passed down by her grandmother, and her own parents. I only need to be able to prove that one connection and I would love to be able to do so.”

If anyone can help Mrs Lees, please e-mail her at grace@ryton.plus.com