Public appeal to help fund park McLaren tribute

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PLANS are well under way to create a lasting memorial to the late Bill McLaren.

And the people of the town he held so dear are being asked to help finance it.

Led by the community council, the proposals are for a bronze bust of the ‘Voice of Rugby’ to be placed on top of a cairn-like structure.

Situated adjacent to the cafe in Wilton Lodge Park, with a walkway , surrounded by flowers, the sculpture will have Bill looking up at his Hillersden home.

Community council chairman John Hope said: “The McLaren family are delighted with the plans and are right behind what we are proposing.”

Helped by teacher Judith Murray, pupils from the high school have already begun working on the memorial, developing design ideas alongside a professional artist.

Mr Hope added: “Because of all the good work Bill did with the high school we thought it would be good if the kids got involved in the development and planning of what they think the memorial should be.”

A winning design and runner-up will be chosen and a presentation will take place next Saturday in the former Hawick News advertising office, at the Tower Knowe.

There will also be representatives from the community council present to accept donations as part of the public subscriptions required to fund the memorial – which is estimated to cost £15,000 for the whole thing.

Chairman of the sub group Rob Brydon said: “We are inviting the public along to the Bill McLaren Memorial Shop at Tower Knowe next Friday and Saturday to contribute to the fund.

“No matter how large or small the contribution, the public will be given the opportunity to sign a memorial book, which will then be added to the Bill McLaren archives.”

Mr Brydon revealed the memorial plans have also been backed by the Bill McLaren Foundation.

He added: “They want to help as well because they appreciate what we’re trying to do for the people of Hawick.”

Local councillor Stuart Marshall believed it was a fitting tribute.

He said: “I think this is a fantastic initiative from the community council to honour one of Hawick’s favourite sons and I’m sure it will get a lot of support from townsfolk.”

The book will also be available for signing at Hawick Sports between 4pm and 6pm.