The biggest football festival of its kind in Scotland returned home last weekend, honouring fun, sporting activity and the memory of a celebrated young sportsman.
The 2017 Live Borders Festival of Football, sponsored by NFU Mutual, Newtown St Boswells, kicked off on Sunday at the 3G Arena in Galashiels.
Around 120 teams participated, with the event featuring matches for girls and boys aged 5-17 and, once again, included a girl’s section.
It continued the partnership with Live Borders, the Scottish Borders Junior Football Association and Scottish HART to observe the death in 1991 while playing football of Selkirk teenager Cameron Gunn. A special minute of applause was held preceding the SBJFA age 15s final.
The winners of the memorial cup were Duns, who won 1-0 over Hawick and were awarded the Cameron Gunn Cup.
Participating teams this year travelled from across the region and included 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 included the Scottish Borders Junior Football Association Finals in the 13s, 14s and 15s/16s age brackets.
Drew Kelly, Scottish FA development officer said: “This has been our biggest festival ever. Great to see so many parents and spectators coming along to watch the teams. The success of the event, as always, is down to the clubs, the coaches and volunteers and, of course, the players.”
David Moffat, head coach of Tweedbank Thistle, said: “The festival was great – our coaches all agreed it was the best yet and we couldn’t fault the organisation of the event, Well done, Live Borders.” Leanne Berry, head coach of Kelso Girls, added: “Our girls have had a great time. They loved every game, even when it rained!” Results:
Jack Gilchrist 13s League Cup – Earlston 1, Hawick 2.
14s Bruce Scott League Cup – Melrose 2, Kelso 6.
Cameron Gunn 15/16s League Cup – Duns 1, Hawick 0.
In a letter to the Southern Reporter, Cameron’s parents, Wilma and Kenneth Gunn, sisaid the gathering – the largest yet – sent a wonderful message out about how children and youth could all come together to make things happen which were positive, “in a time when we hear more often about negativity in all ages”.
Last year, they added, the occasion had become the largest one-day event in Europe when it topped at around 1200 entries, with children from U5 to the most senior event, the U17 finals for the Cameron Gunn Trophy.
“This year we exceeded even that huge total when an extra dimension, with teams of young girls from Under-7 was added, and put the total up about another 250,”