Memorial for Bill McLaren is starting to take shape

A PERMANENT memorial to the late Bill McLaren took a huge step closer this week.

The clay model which will be used to create the bronze bust of the Voice of Rugby has been completed and it is hoped the finished piece can be in place within Wilton Lodge Park by the end of the year.

The memorial has been organised by Hawick Community Council.

Chairman of the sub group Rob Brydon told the Hawick News: “It was actually the idea of former community council chairman John Hope. Initially it was felt that it would be appropriate to have something in the town, from the town, to recognise what Bill did for Hawick in putting the place on the map.”

It will be built by world renowned sculptors from the Beltane Studios in Peebles, who have used video footage to ensure the likeness of the great rugby commentator.

Community council chairperson Marion Short said: “Mr McLaren’s family have viewed the photos to date and are happy also to proceed.”

A huge fund-raising drive helped towards the total cost of the memorial, which is expected to be in the region of £12,000.

This included donations from various rugby clubs, a concert by the Glyneath Male Voice Choir, a dinner held by Hawick Trades as well as cash from the town’s Common Good Fund.

It is hoped the new memorial can be situated in the park in the vicinity of the current statues to the town’s other sporting heroes, Jimmie Guthrie and Steve Hislop.

However, talks are due to take place with officials from Scottish Borders Council to discuss the matter amid regeneration plans for the park.

Mr Brydon added: “We’re over-the-moon with what the sculptor has produced. He’s spent a lot of time studying Bill and he’s done an excellent job.

“We’re looking at having it in place by the end of October, but the whole thing will heavily depend on the plans for the park.”