Border Ice Rink (BIR) celebrated its Golden Jubilee in fine style last week with a series of events, both on and off the ice, to mark the occasion.
A birthday lunch was held on October 1, when 56 club presidents, past presidents, province presidents and directors enjoyed a champagne reception, followed by an informal midday meal during which friendships were renewed, memories exchanged and a convivial afternoon was enjoyed by all.
The main event took place on Saturday, with 32 rinks from throughout the Borders competing in an East v West bonspiel.
Some friendly but competitive curling was enjoyed throughout the day, with the final result very close. East ran out the winners with 68 ends to 58 for the West.
A unique prize for the highest-up rink overall – four solid silver BIR badges from the 1960s, set in an acrylic mould – was presented by David Henderson, president of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club, to the Greenlaw One winning rink of Bert Duncan (skip), Marje Dykes, Jean Buchanan and Peter Colebrook.
In the evening, a gala dinner for 230 guests was held at The Cross Keys Hotel, Kelso.
Guests convened for a reception at 7.30pm, before sitting down to an excellent dinner, sponsored by McCreath, Simpson and Prentice.
Each guest was presented with a commemorative booklet, entitled “We Built an Ice Rink,” compiled by Bill Cleghorn, the popular and hard-working long-time curler and director of Border Ice Rink, together with a pictorial place mat depicting many aspects of BIR, both past and present.
David Kerr of Kelso Curling Club, the current BIR president, hosted the evening and invited the Royal Club president David Henderson to present 11 curlers who joined BIRC back in 1964 with founder member certificates.
Six of these founder members are still curling, 50 years on, an astonishing achievement in any sport.
Peter Bowyer, immediate past president of BIRC, then toasted the Royal Club and David Henderson replied with a toast to Border Ice Rink.
Douglas Elliott, the chairman of directors, responded to David’s toast. The guest speaker for the evening was the well-known former athlete George McNeil from Tranent, who entertained the guests with hilarious stories of his life as a sportsman. His first-class speech received a standing ovation at its conclusion.
The evening was concluded with a vote of thanks by past president Jim Cullen, who presented his reply in verse – a fitting conclusion to an excellent jubilee celebration.