Big kick-off for Bill’s statue fund-raiser

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THE BBC microphone used by Bill McLaren for his commentaries will be amongst memorabilia on display this weekend to mark the start of a campaign for a statue in his honour.

The proposal by Hawick Community Council to erect a life-size bust of the town’s rugby legend is launched today (Friday) with the opening of the Bill McLaren Memorial Shop at Towerknowe, where the public will not only be able to see the famous microphone amongst other specially donated items – but kick-off a bid to raise £15,000 by making a contribution to sign the memorial book which will be added to an archive.

Community Councillor Rob Brydon, chairman of the sub-committee driving the project, told the Hawick News: “Bill was held in such high regard in Hawick not just for rugby but as a person and when the funeral happened the crowds were there for all to see, so we thought we would start the fund off in Hawick with Hawick folk.

“I have every confidence that in around a year we will have reached our target one way or another.”

Designs for the memorial received a round of applause at Tuesday night’s community council meeting, when high school art teacher Judith Murray and pupil representative Ellie Reid unveiled a final drawing which has been produced with the help of artist Andy McKenzie. Comprising the pupils’ idea, it shows a bust on top of a cairn, along with a plaque and inscriptions of Mr McLaren’s famous commentaries on the surrounding paving.

Community council chairman John Hope told the meeting: “We are absolutely delighted with what you’ve done, we can’t thank you enough.

“It’s a Hawick project for a Hawick man.”

Discussions are still ongoing over the location of the memorial, with an original idea for it to be situated on the corner opposite the Hizzy memorial now being reconsidered due to the bouncy castle sharing the same area in the summer.

Mr Brydon confirmed the bust of Bill would still look up at his west end Hillersden home, but perhaps be moved further round the park.

The shop is open today (Friday) from 9am until 5pm, and tomorrow (Saturday) from 9am until 3.30pm.

Townsfolk are also being given the opportunity to make a donation and sign the memorial book at tomorrow’s Hawick Sevens between 4pm and 6pm.

Councillor Stuart Marshall, a sub-committee member, added: “I hope the whole town really gets behind this project and helps with donations.”