Rugby community rallies in memory of Kevin Williamson
The rugby community in Scotland is rallying around an ambitious £200,000 fund-raising project to support research into an aggressive form of cancer.
Ayrshire businessman and keen rugby player, Kevin Williamson, died from oesophageal cancer in June 2020. He was only 49.
Now his 20-year-old daughter, Gaby, a third-year politics and sociology student at Glasgow Caledonian University, is leading the fund-raising for the Edinburgh-based charity, Worldwide Cancer Research to honour her dad’s memory.
And on Friday week (13 August) two landmark events are due to take place to kick-start activities.
Scotland’s 1990 Grand Slam captain, David Sole, will be guest of honour and take part in a Q&A at a lunch at the Trump Turnberry Hotel in Ayrshire which will also include a raffle and auction, with Scottish Rugby supplying a signed Scotland jersey from the 2021 Six Nations Championship among the prizes.
"It’s been really comforting to see the level of support and we hope that we might be able to make this an annual memorial match for my dad.” Gaby Williamson, Kevin's daughter
Then later in the afternoon, David Sole will attend a charity match for the Kevin Williamson trophy, which will take place at Ayr’s home ground of Millbrae.
It will feature a team of Kevin’s friends – dubbed the Veterans – against a team raised by Kevin’s 18-year-old son, Findlay, a wing/centre – called the Young Pretenders.
Kevin played his rugby at Belmont Academy in Ayr, where his classmates included Scottish Rugby’s technical director, Stephen Gemmell. He went on to become a stalwart of Ayr Rugby Club.
Gaby said: “We’ve already got 30 of my dad’s pals, including the former Scotland prop Gordon Reid, signed up to play. It’s been really comforting to see the level of support and we hope that we might be able to make this an annual memorial match for my dad.”
One of Gaby’s school teachers at Wellington School in Ayr, Jeremy Levif, who reached the semi-final of TV’s The Voice, will also provide some vocal entertainment around the match.
“Jeremy was my French teacher at school.He also taught my brother, Findlay and my little sister Poppy.
“He has a beautiful soft voice when he sings but he’s also very powerful and makes everything seem so effortless,” Gaby explained.
Gaby’s Instagram blog, where she spoke of her feelings in losing her dad during the pandemic, and also about health challenges facing her mum, Victoria, has proved inspirational to other youngsters facing similar traumatic circumstances.
“Worldwide Cancer Research also heard my story and I’m fundraising in the knowledge that however much I can raise for them will contribute to research in my dad’s name,” she added.
You can support Gaby’s fund-raising via https://gofund.me/af40fb37