Rising Stranraer curling star Niall Ryder supported by employers at Portpatrick Hotel

A Stranraer curler with his sights firmly set on following in the footsteps of local Winter Olympic medal winners Bobby Lammie and Hammy McMillan in future Games has received a new sponsorship boost.

By Ian MacLean
Wednesday, 2nd March 2022, 11:10 am
Updated Wednesday, 2nd March 2022, 11:35 am

Funding from the Portpatrick Hotel is aimed at helping Niall Ryder develop vital skills that might one day see him represent the senior Great Britain men's team.

Alongside his curling career, Niall, 19, works as a waiter at the hotel, which is part of the Coast & Country Hotel Collection, a group of more than 30 hotels spread across some of the UK’s most iconic holiday destinations.

The recent Games in Beijing showed Niall what it's like to be at the very top of the sport of curling — not a far cry from his current standing as one of the best young talents in Scotland.

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Niall first took to the ice aged 10, following a sporting initiative called Curlings Cool — a Scottish Curling development programme delivered at ice rinks throughout Scotland to primary school pupils.

Since then, his skills have gone from strength to strength and he has won multiple junior championships at a regional and national level.

Konrad Parulski, general manager of the Portpatrick Hotel, said: "It's great to see someone from the town setting their sights so high and with the Winter Olympics recently taking place, I'm sure many more young talents will feel inspired to hit the ice.

"Niall is a pleasure to work with and his commitment and dedication to curling is reflected in his approach to his work here too. Given this, it seemed only right we sponsor the next stage of his career.

"He’s an excellent example of how hard work and dedication can pay off and we’re delighted to support him on this journey — and have every faith in his future success.”

Niall currently represents Team Craik based in Forfar, who recently won the Asham Under 21 Slam Lockerbie Junior Invitation gents’ final.

The team’s next outing will see them represent Scotland at the World Junior Championships in Sweden — with hopes that someday, his team will be challenging for an Olympic gold medal — but for now, more hard work and dedication is the order of the day.

Commenting on his new sponsorship, Niall said: “I’m extremely grateful to have the backing of the Coast & Country Hotel Collection and the flexibility of my job at the Portpatrick has allowed me to pursue my dream of – one day – representing Team GB.

"Watching the team compete at this year's Games inspires me to work extra hard in the hope that’ll be me on the TV in the not too distant future.

"It's now time to concentrate on my own game and, with the support of everyone around me, I’m approaching the Junior World Championships with renewed confidence.

“The hotel has been so flexible in allowing me to fit my shifts around training. If I need time off to compete, they completely understand and I feel like I owe it to them to take my game to the next level. Having their sponsorship to help me in my training is invaluable though, and I’m hugely appreciative.”