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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.

Full programme for Pass it on! Celebrating Scotland’s sporting heritage

We are delighted to present the full programme for Pass it on! Celebrating Scotland’s sporting heritage. The event will bring together experts in the curation, care, use and promotion of sporting heritage to discuss their work and provide details of current projects. The event if free and open to anyone with an interest in sporting heritage. If you would like to attend please contact Ian Mackintosh, Exhibitions Assistant, Hosts & Champions, at ian.mackintosh@stir.ac.uk / tel. 01786 467240

Pass it on! Celebrating Scotland’s sporting heritage

University of Stirling Library

Friday 24 February 2017

10.30: Tea & coffee

10.45: Sporting Heritage Networks

12.00: Unlocking Scotland’s Sporting Heritage #1

  • Hosts & Champions project
  • Karl Magee, University of Stirling
  • Ian Mackintosh, University of Stirling
  • Richard Haynes, University of Stirling

13.00: Lunch

13.45: Unlocking Scotland’s Sporting Heritage #2

15.00: Tea & coffee

15.15: Using Scotland’s Sporting Heritage

16.30: The Future of Scotland’s Sporting Heritage

  • Discussion chaired by Richard Haynes, University of Stirling

Throughout the day a small exhibition of material from the Commonwealth Games Scotland Archive will be on display in the Archives & Special Collections area.

17.00: Evening social event, Macrobert arts centre

  • 17.00 – Drinks reception
  • 17.30 – Film screening
  • 19.00 – Conference dinner

2016: End-of-year review

Well, it’s that time of the year again. Time to tot up our visitor figures and enquiry databases to discover how our collections were used by researchers and find the most popular archives of 2016. For the second year running the collection which has topped our end-of-year chart is the NHS Forth Valley Archive. The collection, which includes the records of Stirling District Asylum (Bellsdyke Hospital) and the Royal Scottish National Hospital, continues to be very popular with family historians, providing a wealth of information on the patients who passed through the Victorian health-care system. In 2016 the records of these local hospitals have also increasingly been used by academics and students across a range of fascinating research projects.

The NHS Forth Valley Archive, our most popular collection for the second year running.

In 2017 the University of Stirling will celebrate its 50th anniversary having opened its doors for the first time on 18 September 1967. The interest in, and preparations for, this important anniversary have resulted in the university’s own archives taking the No. 2 spot. The University Archive holds the official history of the institution in its minute books, reports and publications. It also preserves the unofficial story of life on campus through student newspapers, memorabilia and oral history interviews with retired staff and alumni. We are looking forward to making full use of this material throughout next year’s 50th celebrations!

Our film collections remain incredibly popular with academics, researchers and students. In 2016 the personal and working papers of the director Lindsay Anderson ended the year at No. 3 in our chart. In part this was due to a renewed academic interest in his work sparked by the publication of Lindsay Anderson Revisited: Unknown Aspects of a Film Director (Palgrave MacMillan, 2016). The enduring appeal of films such as If…. and This Sporting Life also brought a number of researchers to Stirling. The collection was also a key resource for our own M Litt Film Studies students who worked on Anderson’s papers during their research placements in the archive.

Our film collections continue to be popular with researchers.

Outside the archives reading room our Hosts & Champions exhibition continued its tour around Scotland, taking material from our Commonwealth Games Scotland Archive to Stranraer, Kirkintilloch, Eastriggs and Grangemouth. Unique items from our collections were also loaned to exhibitions in places as varied as Montrose, Stirling, Paris and Udine!

We ended the year with the launch of an exciting new project to support the cataloguing and conservation of the Peter Mackay Archive, a collection relating to modern African history which was recently donated to the University of Stirling. A crowdfunding campaign has been launched on the Crowdfunder website:

http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/petermackay/

Help us to reach our target by 24 January 2017!

Those results in full:

2016:

  1. NHS Forth Valley
  2. University of Stirling
  3. Lindsay Anderson

2015:

  1. NHS Forth Valley
  2. Musicians’ Union
  3. University of Stirling

2014:

  1. Norman McLaren
  2. NHS Forth Valley
  3. Commonwealth Games Scotland

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

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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!

A Small Tour of Our Commonwealth Mascots!

Continuing with our tours of the Hosts & Champions Exhibition at Trinity Church, Irvine, Jocelyn Grant, one of our Exhibition Assistants, introduces some of the mascots on display.

A family favourite, mascots are now a staple of the Commonwealth Games. Starting from Mac in 1986, Glasgow 2014’s mascot was an adorable thistle that won the hearts of the city during the Games. There are however several mascots that have featured internationally as the Games has travelled across the Commonwealth. Here are a few that are currently housed in the Hosts and Champions Exhibition.

The Hosts and Champions Exhibition Preview!

Hosts and Champions Podium

The Hosts and Champions Podium

As we prepare to open our touring Hosts & Champions exhibition at Trinity Church, Irvine, to the public this Friday, Jocelyn Grant, one of our Exhibition Assistants, provides a re-cap of the opening preview. 

For Commonwealth Day on Monday, a preview of the Hosts and Champions Exhibition went ahead before its full opening this Friday.

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Our medal display

After several weeks of arranging the displays, creating additional iPad materials and the preparation of captions, the preview was opened by a few notable speakers:

  • Lesley Forsyth – Cultural development manager for North Ayrshire Council welcomed and introduced the exhibition and each guest
  • Margaret Burgess – Minister for housing and welfare, MSP for Cunninghame South
  • Michael Cavanagh – Chair of Commonwealth Games Scotland
  • The baton bearers from North Ayrshire Suzanne Fernando and her daughter shared their experience of carrying the baton for Glasgow 2014, and why they were chosen
  • Joan Sturgeon – The provost, North Ayrshire Council rounded off the speeches by officially opening the exhibition
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Kuala Lumpur Uniforms

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The opening preview on Monday 9th March

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The opening preview on Monday 9th March

The exhibition will now be open every Monday, Friday and Saturday between 10am to 4pm in Trinity Church, Bridgegate, Irvine, starting this Friday 13th. The exhibition will run from March 13 to April 17.

This is the first venue of the Hosts and Champions touring exhibition, and after Irvine this show will travel to:

Carnoustie – April 20th – May 25th

Back to Stirling to the MacRobert Centre – July 20th – September 7th

Dalkeith – September 14th – October 26th

Dumfries – October 26th – November 30th

Stranraer December 7th – 28th

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Some unique banners created from Glasgow 2014 flags and signs by members of the North Ayrshire community

So if you cannot make it through to see the exhibition in Irvine, watch out for it visiting a town near you, as more venues and tour stops are still being arranged. Up to date information about the tour can be found here and on the University of Stirling Archives twitter, with #Hostsandchampions.