TO the strains of a lone piper playing Flower of Scotland, a bust of Bill McLaren was unveiled from under a saltire in his home town of Hawick on Tuesday.
A crowd of family, friends, colleagues and former pupils gathered at Wilton Lodge Park to see the bust revealed by Bill’s widow Bette.
The memorial stands in the park and looks over to Hawick High School, where Bill taught.
Linda Lawson, Bill’s daughter and director of the Bill McLaren Foundation, said: “Wilton Lodge Park brings back great memories for me as a child and later when we brought our own kids here –you can even see the family home from here.
“We’re really thankful to everyone who has worked so hard to create this lasting memorial to Dad.”
She added: “We’ve waited for this day with great anticipation and we’ve been looking forward to it for a while.
“It’s been a fantastic effort. Not only from the people of Hawick but the whole of the Borders, and we’re immensely grateful for that.”
The project, which cost £11,500, was taken on by Hawick Community Council and funded through public subscriptions, a grant from the common good fund and money from the John and Mary Elliot Charitable Foundation. Various fundraising events and donations also helped raise the total required.
Lindsay Lawson, Bill’s granddaughter, said: “It was a really emotional moment when I saw Nana’s face as she unveiled the bust.
“It’s absolutely brilliant and captures Papa perfectly. We’re the luckiest family to be able to come and visit this statue here.”
Linda added: “The park was very important to Dad, it’s a wonderful facility and asset to the town.”
The bust of the legendary commentator, who passed away three years ago, is situated adjacent to the museum in Wilton Lodge Park, alongside statues of motorcyclists Jimmie Guthrie and Steve ‘Hizzy’ Hislop.
Peebles-based sculptors Beltane Studios created the bust, while Hawick builders Clamp and Pringle erected the plynth.
Rob Brydon from Hawick Community Council said: “I can’t praise the sculptors highly enough. They didn’t take it off a photograph, it was more off video tapes from the BBC and the McLaren family, and I think they’ve got it spot on.
“It’s something that the town can be very proud of.”
z See www.thesouthernreporter.co.uk for more photos of the unveiling ceremony.