Schools get into Olympic spirit as Bill McLaren project is launched

Burnfoot pupils proudly follow the Olympic torch during the recent celebration
Burnfoot pupils proudly follow the Olympic torch during the recent celebration

WHILE the London 2012 Olympic flame may not be coming to Hawick, the town unveiled its own torch recently.

Launched to celebrate the Vision 2014 group’s Year of Sport, the torch will make its way around all the schools in and around the town, before a grand Olympic-style ceremony in June involving more than 2,000 pupils.

Burnfoot Carnival Cornet and Queen Bryce Hume and Laura Makin took charge of it for the first time at a ceremony in Tower Mill before it was taken up to the school and welcomed by excited pupils along Kenilworth Avenue.

Vision 2014 chairperson Janice Chapman said: “This year is shaping up to be a fantastic event and what a way to start the whole thing off. The torch is absolutely fantastic.”

Made from shiny gold aluminium metal, the torch is 800mm high and weighs 800g. It has a plastic orange flame with Christmas LED lights inside which shine to give a fantastic effect, while the Olympic logo is replaced by a picture of the Hawick Horse.

Its creator, local jeweller Hamish Smith – a former pupil at Burnfoot – said: “As the weeks have gone on and I’ve got over the amount of work that was put into it I feel very honoured that I’ve been able to contribute to this community event.”

The torch will stay at each school for two weeks before moving on.

A base for the torch to sit in was made by Tosh Scott and he will be joining Mr Smith, members of the cycling club and pupils from Burnfoot in two weeks’ time as it is taken on a run to its next destination – Denholm.

In addition, there will also be sporting and wellbeing events within schools throughout the 2012/13 session.

Mrs Chapman added: “We’re really looking for local sports clubs to encourage kids to get into sport and feed off the enthusiasm there is for Vision 2014.”

The launch coincided with a pilot project by Ian Landles and Judith Murray – in conjunction with the Bill McLaren Foundation – to create an educational pack based on the late, great commentator. Some 60 pupils from every primary school in the Hawick learning community attended and heard about Bill, his life story, commentary work, legendary sheets and his values.

Split into teams – each depicting one of Bill’s core values: respect, devotion, fairness, discipline, integrity and loyalty – they enjoyed various activities and games throughout the day before a presentation at the end.

Mr Landles said: “We’re hoping it will become a pack certainly to be used in the future in Hawick schools and schools in the Borders. But it also has the potential to go nationwide.”

The launch was also attended by Bill’s wife Bette, his daughter Linda Lawson and husband Alan.

Linda said: “We need to remember these kids had no idea who dad was. Although they’ve maybe heard their parents talking about him, they are in the present and a lot of them don’t realise somebody from Hawick is known throughout the world. Now they can take what they’ve learned back to their schools and a whole new generation will know about dad.”