Today, on the 90th anniversary of the birth of The Voice of Rugby, Bill McLaren, Scottish Rugby is supporting a fantastic competition to enable young people to follow in the footsteps of the great man.
The challenge being launched today fittingly at Mansfield Park – home of Bill’s beloved Hawick RFC – is under the banner of “90 years, 90 seconds . . . one amazing opportunity.”
“The idea of the contest is to promote the values that Bill always believed in as both a broadcaster and PE teacher,” said his daughter, Linda Lawson today.
“We’ll be looking for young people to learn as they have fun with the project and, hopefully, we might also find the next, great sports broadcaster.”
The competition is simple and easy to enter. All clubs and schools are invited to submit a 90-second video with commentary on their favourite activity.
Bill taught many things from athletics to country dancing, so if rugby isn’t to everyone in the group’s taste, it doesn’t matter, as long as your passion for your sport shines through.
There will be two entry categories; primary and secondary school age-groups. The top ten submissions (five from each category) will receive a £500 cash prize for their club or school, as well as some special behind the scenes prizes involving Scottish Rugby representative teams and the Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors pro-clubs.
Those lucky ten teams selected, will also be invited along to Murrayfield to commentate on 90 seconds of 1990 Grand Slam footage. From this, a final two winners will be chosen to experience commentary at an international sporting occasion in May, an opportunity of a lifetime.
The judging panel will include Scotland’s cap and points’ record-holder Chris Paterson; Linda Lawson; renowned BBC Radio Scotland rugby commentator Bill Johnstone; Tom Connor (editor news and sport, BBC Scotland) and Dominic McKay, Scottish Rugby's Director of Commercial Operations, Communications and Public Affairs.
Bill McLaren had an illustrious career as a rugby commentator for the BBC, spanning over five decades and in doing so being the voice behind many of the sport’s greatest moments. Revered for his love and knowledge of the game, as well as his memorable injections of humour, Bill is lauded as the greatest and most charismatic broadcaster of the sport.
Despite having a seemingly effortless natural talent to educate as well as entertain through his commentary, a huge amount of dedication and hard work went in to making him the craftsman and pioneer of modern sports commentary he was.
The Bill McLaren Foundation was established in March 2010 in his name. The organisation has three objectives:
• To develop and promote rugby union and its value throughout the rugby world
• To encourage and provide sporting opportunities for young people
• To create an educative centre including the Bill McLaren archive.
Since 2010, the foundation has proudly donated £250,000 to good causes, much of this to grassroots rugby.
For any further information on the competition as well as the all-important entry form, visit: www.billmclarenfoundation.co.uk/90
The Bill McLaren Foundation is one of Scottish Rugby's charity partners. It will be the charity beneficary of the glittering Scottish Rugby Hall of Fame dinner at Murrayfield Stadium on Thursday 7 November. You can buy tickets for the dinner through this website.