LIKE a whirling dervish, David Laing has spent a great part of his life playing, inspiring, encouraging, organising and fundraising for a variety of sporting ventures throughout the Borders.
And now, the 67-year-old from Kelso has exploded onto the Scottish scene by becoming the first Borders chairman of the Scottish Association of Local Sports Councils (SALSC).
Sporting figures from Heriot to Langholm and Peebles to Berwick are familiar with this larger-than-life, colourful character. For longer than he cares to remember, David has been involved in various groups, councils and sports clubs in the region.
And by securing his latest position, he hopes to help the non-profit-making national organisation further deliver quality local sport and physical activity opportunities to local communities.
Representing 50 sports councils, including four in the Borders, and almost 10,000 sports clubs, SALSC is a truly Scottish association and works in partnership with key bodies such as sportscotland and the Holyrood government to develop sport and volunteering in sport at the local grass roots level to ensure everyone in Scotland has access to quality opportunities to get physically active.
David told TheSouthern: “The next few years will certainly be challenging with the continued financial pressures, but nothing is ever insurmountable and we should move forward in a positive mindset.
“With sport and volunteering still high on the national agenda there has never been a better time to promote to our local authorities and national agencies the high value in using local sports councils/organisations and their volunteers to deliver sporting opportunities at grass roots level, to identify local talent and to help Scotland to even more sporting success on the international stage.”
Having held many positions within the local sporting community – he still holds 10 of them – David has a wealth of experience to take to the table and proved a popular choice when the SALSC membership voted him to replace former chair Jim Conn (Aberdeenshire) at the recent AGM.
And having been the Borders representative and vice-chair of SALSC in the past, he is certainly going into the position with his eyes wide open.
“I intend to serve the membership by building upon the experiences from my past years,” he explained. “I do not intend to dwell on past successes or failures, and there have been some of the latter, but have been learning from them and plan to build an even more user-friendly organisation.
“My objectives are to continue to improve our service to members and to do this we need to build a robust and clear financial policy and pathway in place – this may be the accountant coming out in me.
“This would cover all aspects of our work, including representing the interests of our members at national level and further improving communication. One of my main priorities in my first year will be development and training of our youth faction.”
Not known for his modesty, David has a clear view as to what attributes he can bring to the table.
He said: “I get on well with people in all walks of life, listen and take into consideration all points of issue and like to see improvements implemented as quickly as possible, although I will not rush something that I feel needs further consideration. I have a pleasant personality and am a generally happy person, always smiling, as many say.”
It takes an honest man to admit any failings, but David is equally candid about these: “My public speaking is perhaps not as proficient as some and I often adopt a more common touch in my approach.
“What you see is what you get, although I think I can be diplomatic when the occasion arises,” he concluded.