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Jim Alder: marathon runner, baton bearer

To celebrate the occasion of the first Stirling Marathon which takes place on Sunday 21st May our Exhibitions Assistant, Ian Mackintosh, writes about one of Scotland’s greatest marathon runner’s contribution to Commonwealth Games history.

Jim Alder is without doubt one of the greatest distance runners in the history of Scottish Athletics. Jim competed in the 1966 and 1970 Commonwealth Games and also represented Great Britain at the 1968 and 1972 Olympic Games. Jim collected a complete set of medals at the Commonwealth Games winning gold in the marathon and bronze in the six mile race in Kingston in 1966, and silver in the marathon in Edinburgh in 1970. Another of Jim’s claims to fame is that he was involved in all three Queen’s Baton Relays when Scotland hosted the Games (in 1970, 1986 and 2014).

Jim Alder returns from Kingston, Jamaica, with his marathon gold and six-mile race bronze medals.

Edinburgh 1970

Jim’s first involvement with the Baton Relay came at the opening ceremony of the 1970 British Commonwealth Games where he had the honour of bringing the baton into Meadowbank Stadium and presenting it to Prince Philip. Jim recalled the day in a recent interview for the Commonwealth Games Scotland Archive:

“I was captain of the Scottish Cross Country Team and a Gold Medallist for the Marathon at the last games. I got a letter from the Scottish Amateur Athletics Association asking me if I would be interested in taking part in the Baton Relay in Edinburgh. I replied that I was honoured to take part. They asked me to keep it secret and not to let my family know because I was to be the involved in the last leg of the relay in Edinburgh. I received a phone call a few days later during which they then told me that I would be carrying the baton into the stadium to hand it over to Prince Philip.

I was also given specific instructions as to what I was to wear. I was to wear my Scotland Vest a pair of white shorts and a pair of plain white canvas shoes. On no account was there to be any branding. At the time Adidas were my running shoe sponsors and they provided me with all of my gear. So I had to go out and buy a pair of shorts and shoes for which I was reimbursed. My wife and family were in the top stadium waiting on the teams coming in and when the Scotland team appeared I wasn’t in the team. She turned to her dad and our son and said yer dad is late again he’s missed the team. You see I had a reputation for being late. It was then that I made my entrance and it was flashed up on the scoreboard that the mystery Baton Relay runner was Jim Alder. It was great running round the track. The roar of the crowd was amazing. They were clapping and cheering and of course I knew most of the other British team’s athletes and they were cheering me on. It brought a lump to my throat and I was very emotional when I handed over the baton to Prince Philip. It was a fabulous occasion and when I handed the baton over to Prince Philip he asked if I had run all the way with the message.”

Jim Alder hands the Queens Baton to Prince Philip at Meadowbank Stadium, Edinburgh, 16 July 1970

Edinburgh 1986

In 1986 Jim was asked if he would like the honour of carrying the baton over the border into Scotland during the relay. Recalling the day Jim noted that:

“I was advised to be in Coldstream for midmorning and I was met by the committee. This was a very different occasion [from 1970] because my role was to carry the baton over the border and hand it over to someone at Coldstream. It was a less formal affair and I didn’t need to worry about what I wore. In fact I wasn’t even advised about what to wear so I decided I would wear my 1970 Scotland Uniform which still fitted me. I was still a serious runner back then and I maintained my weight well. I was still competing regularly in Cross Country, Road Races and Marathons. I was really happy to be involved in the baton relay once again and I never thought I would ever be involved in it again.”

Glasgow 2014

In 2014 Jim had the honour of being part of the final stages of the baton relay on the opening day of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. At an event in Scotland House (The Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow) he presented the baton to Prince Imran, Chairman of the Commonwealth Games Federation. For Jim “it was a great day, because it was an opportunity be in my hometown and the reception I received showed that people hadn’t forgotten what I had achieved nearly 40 years before.”

Our exhibition Hosts and Champions: Scotland in the Commonwealth Games was also officially opened that day and we were present to witness Jim’s contribution to the day’s events. After the ceremony was completed, we met Jim and chatted to him about his career. Jim was very interested in our exhibition and was delighted when he saw that we had featured him in the display. The exhibition included a photograph of Jim taken shortly after he had won his silver medal in the 1970 marathon. The photograph was titled “A helping hand”. Jim was delighted to see the picture and was more than happy to chat with us about the race. He spoke fondly of his great friend and rival Ron Hill and highlighted the fact that five of the fastest Marathon runners in the world were competing in the race. For Jim “it has been a great privilege to be asked to take part in all three Commonwealth Games Relays and the fact that I was involved in the 2012 Olympic Torch Relay completes a unique set for me.”

Jim Alder with his photograph from the 1970 Commonwealth Games which features in our Hosts and Champions exhibition.

 

‘A helping hand.’ Jim Alder crosses the line to win silver in the marathon at the 1970 Commonwealth Games.

Gold Coast 2018 – One Year To Go!

Today marks the start of the countdown to Gold Coast 2018, with one year to go to the Games. This morning we visited the Scottish Government building at Victoria Quay, Edinburgh, where our Hosts and Champions exhibition is currently on display to celebrate the occasion. The event provided an opportunity to meet with the Active Scotland Legacy 2014 team who have been great supporters of our Hosts and Champions project, and legacy partners Street Soccer Scotland.

Celebrating #1YTG at Hosts and Champions exhibition, Scottish Government, Victoria Quay, Edinburgh.

With another Commonwealth Games on the horizon we’re delighted with the continued interest in our Hosts & Champions exhibition, which celebrates Scotland’s contribution to the competition, with a number of additional venues across Scotland confirmed for 2017 and 2018.  For further information check our project page and updates on Twitter using #HostsandChampions

Material collected during the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Over the next twelve months we will also be collecting material relating to Team Scotland, preserving a record of Scotland’s participation in the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games and the 2018 Commonwealth Games. This material will be added to our Commonwealth Games Scotland Archive, which preserves over 80 years of Scottish sporting heritage.

Material from the Edinburgh 1970 Commonwealth Games held in the Commonwealth Games Scotland Archive.

National Sporting Heritage Day Event, Friday 30 September

SHDay logoHosts & Champions Open Day

University of Stirling Archives

Friday 30 September

1 – 5 pm

On National Sporting Heritage Day we invite you to celebrate and explore our Commonwealth Games Scotland Archive. We’re opening up the University Archives on the afternoon of Friday 30th September to present a pop-up version of our Hosts & Champions exhibition. Celebrating over 80 years of participation and achievement by Scotland in the Commonwealth Games the exhibition has visited ten venues across Scotland, travelled hundreds of miles around the country and been seen by thousands of visitors since Glasgow 2014.

Members of our Hosts & Champions project team will be on hand to provide further information on the Commonwealth Games Scotland Archive and our fascinating personal collections of sporting memorabilia of former competitors and sporting administrators. There will also be an opportunity to view unique home movies of sporting competition from the 1940s to the 1970s that have recently been donated to the archive.

If you’re a researcher thinking of using our collections; a sports administrator interested in finding out more about the value of sporting heritage; a Commonwealth Games athlete, volunteer or baton-bearer; or just have a general interest in the history of sport we’d love to see you on the 30th September!

For further details please contact us at archives@stir.ac.uk

cropped-Perth-case-crop.jpg

New additions to Hosts & Champions exhibition

In this article our Exhibition Assistant, Ian Mackintosh, writes about the new additions that have been added to the exhibition since it began its tour around Scotland.

Since Hosts and Champions was first exhibited at the Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow during the 2014 Commonwealth Games we have had some major new additions to our Commonwealth Games Archive. This material has been donated by the families of Sir Peter Heatly and Mr William Carmichael. Both of these gentleman were involved with the Scotland team in a variety of roles including competitor, judge, Team Manager and administrator. Now that the exhibition has moved onto the Dewars Centre in Perth we have extra display cases available where we have the opportunity to display some of these new items.

Sir Peter Heatly’s long and distinguished association with the Commonwealth Games is reflected in the material which has been donated by his family. The items, which include clothing such as Team blazers, ties and badges, cover his time as a competitor in the 1950s (when he won gold medals for diving in 1950, 1954 and 1958) and his later career as Team Manager and administrator.

Our Exhibition Assistant, Ian Mackintosh, with the display of material from Sir Peter Heatly's collection he created for the exhibition in the Dewars Centre, Perth.

Our Exhibition Assistant, Ian Mackintosh, with the display of material from Sir Peter Heatly’s collection he created for the exhibition in the Dewars Centre, Perth.

On retiring from competing Sir Peter became manager of Team Scotland and received gifts such as stone ware mugs in Perth, Australia, in 1962 and a plaque from the organisers of the 1966 Games in Kingston, Jamaica. As a member of the organising committee of the 1970 Edinburgh Games Sir Peter received many gifts from visiting nations and was also presented with a silver plated tankard and salver for his committee work. These are just some of the items that we have chosen to display as part of the exhibition.

While the exhibition was in Irvine from March to April 2015, we were contacted by the family of Mr William Carmichael. They had a collection of items that Mr Carmichael had collected as an Administrator for the Scottish Commonwealth Games Team and the Great Britain Olympic team. We have gratefully accepted this material and it has proved to be a treasure trove of Commonwealth Games history. Included in the collection is a roll of Clan Edin Tartan from the 1970 Edinburgh Games. This was the first time that a tartan had been commissioned especially for the Commonwealth games. A hand-made mascot for the Scottish team is also included, not, however ‘Wee Mannie’ who we have written about before.

The Edinburgh 1970 mascot which joined our touring exhibition in Irvine!

The Edinburgh 1970 mascot which joined our touring exhibition in Irvine!

Other items include pennants that were designed for the 1950, 1954 and 1970 Games. The Carmichael Collection also has a large selection of badges which he collected over the years. Mr Carmichael was also an international wrestling judge and he attended the London 1934 Empire Games in that capacity. His judge’s badge for this competition is part of the display in Perth. It is one of the earliest exhibits that we have in our collection. These are just some of the many new items we are able to display in Perth and we are grateful to the Dewars Centre for the opportunity to exhibit this additional material.

A selection of the Commonwealth Games memorabilia collected by Willie Carmichael which has been donated to the archive.

A selection of the Commonwealth Games memorabilia collected by Willie Carmichael which has been donated to the archive.

The exhibition will be on display in Perth until Saturday 27th June. Why not pop into the Dewars Centre and take a look at this fascinating slice of sporting history?

The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow 2014 – A Final Tour!

Our touring Hosts & Champions Exhibition will be on display at Trinity Church, Irvine, until this Friday 17th April. In this article Jocelyn Grant, one of our Exhibition Assistants, looks at the some of the exhibition items from the Commonwealth Games 2014.

This is the final tour of the series looking at the Hosts and Champions Exhibition in Irvine, Trinity Church. Each of these tours has looked to highlight some of the iconic and exciting materials from the Commonwealth Games Scotland Archive that the Exhibition displays, and it would be remiss of me not to include the most recent and local of the Commonwealth Games; Glasgow 2014!

The Hosts and Champions Exhibition moves on to Carnoustie, Dundee this weekend, so if you would like to see this display before it ends, go now!

Another tour! – Commonwealth Tartans

After opening our touring Hosts & Champions Exhibition at Trinity Church, Irvine, Jocelyn Grant, one of our Exhibition Assistants, provides a tour highlighting some of the items on display.

In the Hosts and Champions Exhibition in Irvine items from the Commonwealth Games Archive highlight the history of the Commonwealth Games internationally, and locally within Scotland. This includes some of the legacies that have been left behind by the Games, not only in buildings and facilities that the public can use, but in design as well. Today’s tour looks at the tartans that have been created for the Commonwealth Games in Scotland.

Another tour to follow soon!

Suzanne Fernando – An interview with a Queen’s Baton Bearer from Irvine

Jocelyn Grant, one of our Exhibition Assistants, interviews Suzanne Fernando, a Queen’s Baton Bearer in Irvine, Trinity Church at the Hosts and Champions Exhibition.

During one of my visits to the Hosts and Champions Exhibition to record footage for a series of tours that highlight different aspects of the exhibition, I had the delight of meeting Suzanne Fernando. Both Suzanne and her daughter were selected to be Baton Bearers during the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Here is what she has to say about the experience. Additional footage has been supplied courtesy of Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Scotland.

The Commonwealth Games Legacy

As we prepare our touring programme for the Hosts & Champions exhibition that will open on the 9th march in Trinity Church, Irvine, Jocelyn Grant, one of our Exhibition Assistants, provides an update on some of the material she has been researching working with the Commonwealth Games Scotland Archive.

The Scottish Games

During the 84 year history of the Commonwealth Games, Scotland has now had the honour of hosting this event a total of 3 times. Twice in Edinburgh for the 1970 and 1986 Games, and of course in Glasgow this past year. For 11 days Edinburgh and Glasgow came alive in a flurry of sporting events that engaged and inspired the whole country. However the effect of these Games did not disappear after each closing ceremony, instead each Games has sought to provide a lasting legacy that would continue to encourage and support the surrounding community. In particular each city has often benefited from the addition of new venues.

Edinburgh 1970

The 1970 Games is often considered the Commonwealth Games of ‘firsts’. It was the first to use metric measurements, the first to use new technology to provide an electronic photo finish, and the first Games that the Queen attended. However it also produced two purpose-built venues that continued to serve its community during, after, and for the next Edinburgh Games in 1986! These venues are the Royal Commonwealth Pool and Meadowbank Stadium.

Meadowbank Stadium

Newsletter 9, May 1970

Newsletter 9, May 1970

At the grand cost of £2.8 million Meadowbank Stadium was built to accommodate athletics, fencing, wrestling and had its own dedicated velodrome.

Meadowbank Stadium under construction

Meadowbank Stadium under construction

While this facility was purpose built, the Edinburgh Newsletters in the archive provide an insight into how this stadium was intended to serve its surrounding community after the Games had finished. As the first newsletter released states:

“This centre has been designed to be a lasting asset to the capital city of Edinburgh and the whole of Scotland”

Seen as a ‘Capital Asset’ this centre was refurbished for the 1986 Games and once again played host to a number of sporting events, before continuing to provide a facility for the surrounding sport community. It was this community that launched a petition when threats of closure became imminent (Save Meadowbank Campaign) and helped to ensure that the stadium stayed open. Today it continues to host multiple sporting events such as the Scottish Judo Open, Karate competitions and roller derby (See here for more information about current events).

Royal Commonwealth Pool

Royal Commonwealth Pool

Royal Commonwealth Pool

Royal Commonwealth Pool being finished for the upcoming Games

Royal Commonwealth Pool being finished for the upcoming Games

Costing a totally of £1.6 million at the time, the Royal Commonwealth Pool is now a listed building and has created a lasting impact, with the facility also being used for both the 1970 and 1986 Games. Recently a major refurbishment – costing £37 million – was completed in 2012,  and the pool continues to provide an exceptional facility and venue for events, continuing it long tradition of participating in the Commonwealth Games by hosting the Glasgow 2014 diving competition! Now considered one of Scotland’s key monuments of the post-war period the pool continues to host diving competitions, waterpolo championships and more (the Commonwealth Pool’s events page can be found here).

Glasgow 2014

For the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Glasgow received a number of impressive venues and additions that have now gone on to host or benefit the local community. A particular highlight was the transformation of the exciting venue at Hampden Park.

Hampden Park

Hampden Park is well known in Scotland as the home to the national football team and was once the largest stadium in Europe. While this venue is not new, it underwent an impressive transformation for Glasgow 2014 with the playing surface being raised a total of 1.9m to transform the venue from a football stadium to a track and field facility.

This venue has contributed to the Game’s lasting legacy by giving its track to another venue! As part of the Glasgow 2014 iniative to distribute sporting equipment across the country, the track is finding a new home in Grangemouth Stadium and Crownpoint in Glasgow’s East End (more can be read about this story here), adding to the legacy created by the Games that looks to encourage a world-class sporting system.

There were many more venues involved in Glasgow 2014 that are still contributing to the sporting community in Scotland, and will allow the excitement of the Games to continue! If you have any stories of your time playing sports or watching them at these venues, get in touch!

 

Presenting the Mascots Family!

As we prepare for the Hosts and Champions exhibition, there is a family of mascots waiting to be introduced! Jocelyn, our Exhibition Assistant, presents a Scottish favourite…

Continuing from the introductions already given to Clyde and Wee Mannie, Mac the Scottish Terrier is the first from the mascots family to appear. Adored by children and adults alike Mac was bred in the highlands of Scotland and became an incredibly successful Scottish mascot for the Commonwealth Games 1986 in Edinburgh.

A giant Mac towers above

A giant Mac towers above

Unlike Wee Mannie, – who had been proposed as the original Scottish mascot in 1970, but was later dismissed – Mac is the first official mascot for the Commonwealth Games in Scotland that was made public. With a host of available merchandise and memorabilia Mac was reproduced as toys, pins, on tea towels, scarfs, ties and more, and has become an iconic image for the second Edinburgh Games.

A stand full of 'Macs'

A stand full of ‘Macs’

 

Mac and his memorabilia

Mac and his memorabilia

Actively displaying the spirit of ‘The Friendly Games’ Mac sent ‘Macvalentines’ to each of the member countries of the Commonwealth Games Federation five months before the start of the event. Sending all participating athletes his love, each of the 25 countires received a valentines card graced with the lovely mascots face, and inside a description of his impeccable charater:

“typical of his breed, a real friend of the family, bright eyed, intelligent, courageous, energetic, and always willing to please…The Commonwealth Family will undoubtedly take him to their hearts in 1986”

A living Mac!

A living Mac with an example of his valentines card

And indeed they did, with the famous terrier apppearing once again at the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Games and introducing each country in turn.

A Scottish terrier introduces Team Scotland at the opening ceremony

A Scottish terrier introduces Team Scotland at the opening ceremony

Stay tuned for more news from the mascot family next week!