CELEBRATING BORDERS’ BEST

Some of the principal award winners in the ceremony at Selkirk (picture by Phil Wilkinson).
Some of the principal award winners in the ceremony at Selkirk (picture by Phil Wilkinson).

The recipients of this year’s Celebration of Sport titles were unveiled last Friday at the Victoria Halls in Selkirk, during a gala dinner hosted by local charity Live Borders.

Close to 180 people were on hand at the event which celebrated the sporting achievements and contributions from people across the Scottish Borders.

Graeme Murdoch, Active Communities Manager for Live Borders said: “This is the seventh Celebration of Sport event and, yet again, it has resulted in a hugely diverse range of deserving winners and nominees.

“The event celebrates the achievements of individuals, teams, clubs, events and the heroes behind the scenes, all of whom contribute to the Borders sporting landscape and ensure that our communities are healthier, happier and stronger as a result.”

A total of 11 awards were presented across 11 categories which included Jim Jefferies being inducted to the Scottish Borders Sporting Hall of Fame and Doddie Weir and the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation who was a popular winner of the Inspirational Award.

Hawick Waverley FC took out the first of the public voted awards winning Team of the Year.

Also part of the public vote was Sports Personality of the Year which was taken out by rugby star Darcy Graham ahead of Sarah Robertson (hockey) and Joelle Murray (football).

Ewan Jackson, Chief Executive Live Borders, said:

“These awards celebrate everything that is good about Borders sport and the calibre and diverse range of nominees was once again exceptional.

“Over the past 12 months, the sporting success stories within our region were at a premium with outstanding performances at global, national as well as local levels.

“All this would not be possible without the backing of schools, clubs, coaches, volunteers, parents, governing bodies, and of course the events themselves which provide opportunities for people to participate and excel at their level.

“Tonight, we celebrated the role and the commitment of these people who collaborate to make sport in the region as successful as it is.”

And the winners were:

Hall of Fame (sponsored by Border Embroideries) – Jim Jefferies.

Sports Personality of the Year(Fantasy Prints) – Darcy Graham (rugby).

Junior Sports Personality of the Year (Gladstone Software ) – Ellie O’Hara (athletics).

Coach of the Year (Finlaysons Contracts) – Neil Renton.

Junior Coach of the Year (Marsh & Riddell) – Christie Rout.

Team of the Year (Endsleigh Insurance) – Hawick Waverley FC.

Club of the Year (DFC) – Kelso Wheelers Cycling Club. Disability Award (Powertec) – David Melrose (Curling).

Service to Sport (Camerons Architects) – Billy Brunton.

Event of the Year (Jim Clark Motorsport Museum) – British Motocross Championship round six (Duns).

Inspiration Award (Origin Fitness) – Doddie Weir/My Name’5 Doddie Foundation. Hall of Fame – Jim Jefferies is one of Scotland’s most recognisable football managers. He lifted the Scottish Cup as manager of Hearts in 1998 and was also manager at Falkirk, Gala Fairydean, Hawick Royal Albert, Berwick Rangers and Dunfermline.

Junior Sports Personality – Ellie O’Hara is ranked number one in the UK and fourth in Europe for Under 17s triple jump. She recently surpassed her previous personal best with a jump over six metres.

Coach of the Year – Neil Renton is the head coach at Gala Harriers Athletics Club, which has grown significantly under his coaching and leadership. Over the last 18 months, he has had over a dozen district representation runners, as well as coaching four runners to Scotland age group vests.

Junior Coach of the Year – Christie Rout coaches the girls’ football team at Melrose Football Club and Earlston High School, where she also works one-on-with with pupils who are visually impaired. She also coaches at after-school programmes, and holiday and lunchtime clubs.

Club of the Year – From humble beginnings the Kelso Wheelers Cycling Club continues to go from strength to strength. Now with over 100 active members, it offers something for everyone from youth to senior level, participating in a variety of cycling related events.

Sports Personality – Rugby player Darcy Graham has been the breakthrough young superstar in the Scottish team out on the wing, and one of the youngest players to be signed professionally to Edinburgh Rugby. From Hawick, he is currently in Japan with the World Cup squad.

Event of the Year – The British Motocross Championship Round Six, held in Duns, attracts the best riders from across the UK and Europe for a weekend full of high octane action.

Disability Sports Award – David Melrose was serving as a retained firefighter when he was hit by a falling steel beam, which broke his back. But, when David discovered wheelchair curling, his life changed again. In March, David competed as part of Team Scotland at the World Wheelchair Curling Championships in Stirling.

Service to Sport – Billy Brunton has been involved in the game for a long time, and even now, in a role of caretaker. He was instrumental in securing funding for Brunton Park.

Team of the Year – Hawick Waverley Football Club was undefeated in the 2018-19 season, winning four trophies along the way, including The South of Scotland Cup.

Inspiration Award – The winner of the ‘Inspirational Award’ was Doddie Weir OBE and the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation. During his career, Doddie made 61 international appearances for the Scotland national rugby team.

In 2017, Doddie announced he had been diagnosed with motor neurone disease. He later set up a foundation named ‘My Name’5 Doddie’ to raise funds for research into a cure for MND and to provide grants to people living with the condition. By October 2018, the charity had raised over £1 million. Doddie was awarded his OBE in the 2019 New Year Honours for services to rugby, to motor neurone disease research and to the community in the Scottish Borders. He is a truly deserving winner of the ‘Inspiration Award’.