Wigtownshire Sports Personality of the Year

The 9th Annual Wigtownshire Sports Personality Awards were a resounding success with World, European and Scottish champions in abundance. The evening commenced with a superb display of Highland Dancing from current Junior World Champion Ellis Hayes from Newton Stewart, and her brother Struan. Chairman Raymond Smith welcomed everyone to the County Buildings, Wigtown followed by a few words from Colin Freeman, Service Manager, Community Services Wigtown.

This year the committee had over 70 names of individuals and teams to sort through and were unfortunately only able to invite those who were prize-winners. If you know a sportsperson or individual who should be recognised for their efforts and achievements during 2012, please remember to nominate them.

It was then down to the important business of the evening commencing with the Junior Female Sports Personality Award, presented by Alex Fergusson, MSP, to Ellis Hayes, Highland Dancing World Champion. The Junior Male Sports Personality Awards were presented by Gordon Henry and Jonathon Heath of Sainsbury’s where the winner was Liam McDowall, golfer. The hotly contested Junior Team category award was presented by Frank Smith of QinetiQ to Stranraer Academy U-13 Football Team, which had a very successful 2010-11 season.

The Senior Sports Team award was presented to the Stranraer Ladies Bowlers rink of Susan Kelly, Kay McHaffie, Jean Sutton and Margaret Reid. The Sports Coach / Administrator Award was presented to James McLeod, coach for Stranraer FC youngsters.

The Disabled Sportsperson Award was presented by Campbell McCaig of the Royal Bank to Joe McGurk, who has successfully taken up curling.

The Senior Female Sports Personality Award, sponsored by The Stranraer & Wigtownshire Free Press was presented to curler Vicki Adams, who was unable to be present due to competition commitments in Canada.

The Senior Male Sports Personality Award was presented to Peter Wilson, bowler by Peter Forster, Galloway Gazette photographer.

The Tukker Clan of Jim McKie, James Hilton and Bobby McKie were presented with the Sports Council Award for Services to Sport in recognition of the work they had carried out bringing the Dutch Football Team coaches and supporters to Stranraer last May for a weekend of top class coaching and fun.

The SportScotland / SALSC Local Service to Sport Award was presented to Bill McFadyen, winner of so many medals, World and European titles for powerlifting and a great supporter of local sport.

This was the first year that local businesses had sponsored the event and Wigtownshire Sports Council is grateful for the support from The Galloway Gazette, QinetiQ, The Royal Bank of Scotland - Stranraer, Sainsbury’s - Newton Stewart and The Stranraer & Wigtownshire Free Press.

For information on grants available from the Sports Council or enquiries about training, please contact the Secretary via email ([email protected]) or phone 07717 758 638.


Ellis Hayes - Highland Dancing

In August of 2011 at Cowal Highland Gathering in Dunoon Ellis competed in the Scottish Championship which she won with four first place medals. This meant that she was also awarded the title of Best Highland dancer in Scotland. The result also meant that Ellis qualified to dance in the Juvenile World Championship finals which took place the following day on the main grandstand. The age group for the juvenile title was 15 and under, so at 13, Ellis was one of the younger competitors, her opposition were the top 19 dancers in the World. Four Highland dances were performed in front of 12 judges from all over the world, with the final result being that Ellis was awarded the World Title beating dancers from Scotland, Canada, New Zealand and America. She was the youngest Scottish dancer to win the World Championship title for many years.

The following weekend she danced at Braemar Highland Gathering in front of the Queen and once more she lifted the top overall prize. She finished the year by winning a further five Championship titles including the All England Championship which is held in Corby

This year so far Ellis has taken her Championships titles over the 50 mark as she added the United Kingdom Championship and the European Championship to her awards.

Ellis trains twice a week with her teacher Fiona MacNeil in Glasgow.

JUNIOR MALE - Sainsbury’s

Liam McDowall - Golf

Liam (14) won the Highland Spring Junior Masters Grand Final at Gleneagles in October, after beating 51 other boys. Liam had to win through local and regional qualifiers and was up against the top under-16 golfers from across the country in this high profile handicap-based national championship. Liam plays at Wigtownshire County Golf club.


Stranraer Academy U13 Football Team

Stranraer Academy U-13 football team had great success over the 2010-11 season. The team won the regional league winning all five fixtures. They also won the regional cup after an exciting final, beating Dumfries High School 6-4. The highlight of their season however was reaching the final of the U-13 Scottish shield. This consisted of a 3-1 away win in the first round v Grange Academy, second round 6-3 away win v Ardrossan Academy, 4-1 third round home win v Holyrood Secondary and a 9-2 fourth round home win v Arbroath High. This took the team to the quarter final stages where they beat St. Ninian’s High School 4-3 in a very exciting game. In the semi-final, they played at Stair Park and were cheered on by a big local support. The boys beat Bishopbriggs High 3-0. In the final played at Palmerston Park, Dumfries, the boys came up against a very strong Paisley Grammar team. In spite of taking an early lead the team lost 3-1 but put up a great fighting display and can be proud of their overall performance. Once again the team fully appreciated the big travelling support from the school and local community. Although the treble was not quite completed it has been a great year for all the boys involved in the U-13 squad and they have been a credit to Stranraer Academy and the local area. The U-13 Squad Members are Fraser Cameron, Callum Murray, Fraser Anderson, Struan Wilson, Robbie Smith, Aiden Dewar, Ben Herries, Jordan Wilson, Tyler Rennie, Rory Marshall, Matthew Robertson, Darren McDowall, Finlay Dougan, Robert Ramsay, Stein McGaw, Richard Irons and Mark Fyfe.


Susan Kelly, Kay McHaffie, Jean Sutton and Margaret Reid - Bowler

The ladies were Fours Champions in Castle Douglas at the Bowls Scotland District Championships after beating a Lochmaben rink in July. In August the rink were crowned national champions in Ayr, picking up the Ladies Fours Title. It is the third year in a row that a Wigtownshire Club has won the title, with Castle Kennedy having won twice previously. They reached the final after beating the Alloa East End rink. In the final they beat the Berwick rink 19-15. Susan Kelly had previously won the title in the 1980s. The rink now goes on to represent Scotland in Bangor in June. The ladies are all members of Stranraer Bowling Club.


James McLeod

James started his playing career with East End Football Club, trained with AARG Aarhus in Denmark, received 3 caps for Junior Scotland and played for Bolton Wanderers. James has been coaching Stranraer FC young boys for the past four years and been involved with Stranraer Youth since it started, following in the footsteps of Frank Coulson. James recently achieved the SFA Youth Licence Coaching Certificate - a great achievement. He is very popular with the youngsters, fellow coaches and local community.

DISABLED SPORTSPERSON - The Royal Bank of Scotland

Joe McGurk

Joe has completed several Stranraer 10k races on the track at Stranraer Academy. He started coming along to the Curling at the beginning of the season in October/November last year when Brian Park was encouraging more people to become involved. Although he doesn’t need a wheelchair for everyday use he would not be able to take to the ice without it, due to his disability which was sustained when hit by a car as a young boy. Joe has really taken to it and is showing real promise and a reasonable level of skill. The biggest difference we have seen is in his overall attitude and outlook which has improved immensely. He enjoys the game so much; and for it to have such a positive impact is incredibly satisfying for his coach, Brian Park.

SENIOR FEMALE - Stranraer & Wigtownshire Free Press

Vicki Adams

Vicki played second in Anna Sloan’s Scottish Championships winning rink and Anna’s GB team which won the World University Games curling in Erzurum. Vicki also played second in Eve Muirhead’s Scottish Junior and World Junior Champions rinks.

Eve Muirhead’s rink won the European Curling Championships in December, Vicki playing second, alongside Anna Sloan, Claire Hamilton and alternate Kay Adams (Vicki’s sister).

SENIOR MALE - The Galloway Gazette

Peter Wilson

Peter, from West End Bowling Club, won the Singles Championship at the Wigtownshire Bowling Association finals held at Wigtown Bowling Club. Peter was also a member of the winning rink from West End which took the Senior Four Championship. Peter and Annie Sproat were runners up in the Wigtownshire Mixed Pairs. Over the years Peter has been an outstanding bowler and has represented his Club and County on a regular basis. He has previously won Scottish titles. Among his achievements last year are: Drummore Open Pairs winner, Stranraer Invitation Pairs winner, Castle Kennedy Invitation Pairs winner, Castle Kennedy Pairs winner, Wigtownshire Mixed District Pairs winner, Scottish Mixed Pairs Plate runner up, Age Concern Over 60s Champion, Wigtownshire Senior Triples League Champion, Wigtownshire Senior Fours Champion and Wigtownshire Singles Champion. In his West End Bowling Club competitions Peter was the winner of the William law Trophy and Runner Up in the Two Bowl Singles competition. Peter also qualified for the Scottish Bowling Finals with his Senior Rink only to lose in the Quarter Final. His rink qualified as District Winners. In the SALSC fours Peter lost in the semi final. A tremendous effort from Peter in one season. Peter has been in the Wigtownshire Singles finals for the past three years and won twice. He has also qualified 5 years in a row in the Scottish Senior Fours finals, winning once, and reaching the Semi and quarter finals.


The Tukker Clan grew from a friendship which developed between Jim McKie and some of the supporters of Dutch football team FC Twente in 2006. Jim had been asked to secure tickets for a Rangers - Celtic game for one of the FC Twente supporters who was dying of cancer - this was to be his final wish. The guy was called Dennis Van Unen, 35 years old, married with a baby of only six months.

Unfortunately Dennis died a few months later. James Hilton had helped Jim to make the dream come true. Both of them wanted to attend the funeral and funds were raised though Helmet Integrated Systems where they both work, colleagues digging deep to enable Jim and James not only to travel out to Enschede but to put £2,500 into a savings account for Dennis’s daughter. Because of this a very special bond was created between the club and a large number of supporters.

A chance comment with Joop Munsterman in 2011, owner and President of FC Twente, who Jim and James were now friendly with, saw a special event take place in Stranraer last May. Two former Dutch international players, Theo Snelders and Frans Thijssen, along with another FC Twente coach Jeroen Heubach travelled to Stranraer with Munsterman and eighty supporters of the club to take part in coaching for 550 children over two days. The event was staged inside Stair Park with the help of Stranraer FC. Jim’s brother, Bobby, had worked very hard to raise enough funds from local businesses for every child present to go home with a beautiful trophy and an FC Twente t-shirt. Special needs kids from the area were put through their paces by Snelders who at the end of the day presented them with their well earned trophies.

A film crew from the club also came over to make a documentary about the weekend and also Stranraer. This was shown nationally each evening for one week. Also covering the two days was top European football writer Michel Van Egmond from “Voetball International”. On the front cover were Edwin Van Der Sar of Manchester United and Lionel Messi of Barcelona, but it sold out in Enschede only because there was a three page spread about Stranraer.

The bond is now made and it will continue to grow with another event planned for later this summer, hopefully with some famous faces coming back to help.

On a sadder note one of the main organisers, Stewart Atkinson, died a few months later. He was the driving force and will be sorely missed.

The Tukker Clan - Jim McKie, James Hislop and Bobby McKie.

SportScotland / SALSC: Local Service to Sport Award

Bill McFadyen has won many medals and awards over the years for power lifting, travelling all over the world. In 2011 Bill won Silver at the World Bench Press Championships in Denmark in May and the World Record of 150 kg bench press in the 83 kg bodyweight class. In November he was off again, this time to Luxembourg where he won the Gold Medal in his class.

This would be an impressive achievement for any sportsman, what makes it all the more exceptional is that Bill is 77 years old. Three years ago he returned after serious injury to compete at the Scottish Powerlifting Championships in November, where he qualified to compete in the British Powerlifting Championships at Colchester, where he won Gold.

Bill trains at the Ryan Centre in Stranraer and is always on hand to help and encourage others, giving freely of his time and knowledge.

Bill has also found fame on the big screen, as star of “Ma Bar”, which won the short film category at the Scottish Baftas in 2008, and was also shown at the Sundance Festival in 2009. Directed by Adrian McDowall and Finlay Pretsell, the film was one of three produced to recognise the opening of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s new leisure centre - DGOne.

Bill’s personal drive and commitment are an inspiration to all who meet him