Hawick rugby visitor centre bid takes shape

Image source, Hawick Rugby Club
Image caption,
Thousands of artefacts could go on show

A major new rugby visitor centre could be created in the Scottish Borders.

A feasibility study will look at setting up the facility in Hawick to house artefacts belonging to its rugby club and the Bill McLaren Foundation.

It will look at a range of options from simply digitising the material up to the creation of a visitor centre.

Hawick Rugby Club (HRC) president John Thorburn said the prospect was "exciting for the club, the town and rugby supporters everywhere".

Image caption,
Rugby commentator Bill McLaren was an "inveterate collector", his daughter said

The study has been made possible by funding from SSE and Clyde Wind Farm Ltd to help appoint Inverness-based consultants Alan Jones Associates.

HRC members Murray Watson and Ross Cameron have asked them to look at the options to preserve, store and display the "rich and unique collection".

It includes international caps dating back as far as 1896, international jerseys, club programmes, photographs and trophies.

As well as the rugby club's artefacts, the project would also include items which belonged to the "voice of rugby" Bill McLaren, who was from Hawick and died in 2010.

Image source, Bill McLaren Foundation
Image caption,
The items used by the "voice of rugby" Bill McLaren could form part of the visitor centre

His daughter Linda Lawson said: "Dad would have been very pleased and proud of these plans.

"He was an inveterate collector and rarely threw anything away.

"We have fantastic memories from his schooldays right up to the time he hung up his microphone."

Lindsay Dougan, SSE's community investment manager, said it had been delighted to support the project.

"The Bill McLaren collection provides a unique insight into the heritage of rugby in both the Scottish Borders and across all of Scotland," she said.