Biggest football festival returns to its spiritual home

Young Borders football devotees take part in last year's Festival of Football.
Young Borders football devotees take part in last year's Festival of Football.

The 2017 Live Borders Festival of Football, sponosred by NFU Mutual of Newton St Boswells, takes place on Sunday at the 3G Arena in Galashiels.

Over 120 teams are expected to participate in the event which will feature matches for girls and boys aged from five to 17 and, once again, includes a girls’ section, which continues to grow in numbers.

In total, counting competitors and spectators, over 2500 people are expected to attend.

This year’s event continues the partnership with Live Borders, the Scottish Borders Junior Football Association and Scottish HART to commemorate the death in 1991 of Selkirk teenager, Cameron Gunn.

A special minute of applause will take place preceding the SBJFA age 15s final, the winners of which receive the Cameron Gunn Cup.

Ewan Jackson, chief executive of Live Borders, said: “This event has gone from strength to strength and is now the largest Football Festival of its kind in Scotland.

“Each year, new elements have been added and it represents a fabulous showcase of football at all levels, from playing for fun and fitness to highly competitive matches for cups and trophies.

“It takes our team months of hard work to organise the event but always in the forefront of their minds is the memory of Cameron Gunn, who died aged just 19 while playing football.

“We are delighted to continue to work with Cameron’s parents, Wilma and Kenneth Gunn, to use this event to raise money for the charity Scottish HART who raise awareness of childhood heart conditions.”

Participating teams at this year’s event come from across the region and will include junior football clubs connected to Ancrum, Chirnside, Coldstream, Duns, Earlston, Eyemouth, Gala Fairydean Rovers, Hawick, Kelso, Lauderdale, Leithen Rovers, Linton Hotspur, Melrose, Peebles, Selkirk and Tweedbank Thistle.

In addition to fun matches, the Festival includes the Scottish Borders Junior Football Association Finals in the 13s, 14s and 15s/16s age brackets.

Richard Forsyth of NFU Mutual, Newtown St Boswells, said: ‘We are delighted to be sponsoring this fantastic event, which brings youngsters from all parts of the Borders together to play football and have a great day out. We hope the event is a huge success and look forward to seeing everyone on Sunday.”

The Festival will also host the Live Borders Play Village where competitors and attending children can be entertained and enjoy activities including an inflatable football speed shot and football skill competition, in partnership with Ostles Tyres and Continental.

SBJFA finals on June 11 kick off at 10.30am, with Festival matches from noon; all welcome.