DCSIMG

Bill Law

International diver, coach and manager

Born: 3 June, 1934, in Edinburgh.

Died: 19 December, 2009, in Edinburgh, aged 75.

WILLIAM (Bill) Law was one of Scotland's most talented and dedicated sportsmen. He competed for Scotland as a diver at the 1958 British Empire Games (now the Commonwealth Games) in Cardiff and was team manger for the Great Britain diving team at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona.

In April last year he became the first Scot to be awarded the Silver Pin by the Ligue Europeenne de Natacion (LEN) in recognition of his services to diving. It was presented in Turin and Law was not only delighted to receive the personal recognition, but was just as proud that he had managed to put his beloved sport on the Scottish sporting map.

But it was not only diving that benefited from Law's skills and expertise. He was a leading swimming official and administrator for many years and when his competitive diving days came to an end, he took up golf, and again combined his talent on the course with a tireless contribution as a hard-working official.

He was born in Edinburgh and attended Darroch School, near to the family home in Glen Street, Tollcross. It was in 1946 that he started swimming at Warrender Baths Club in a junior swim squad coached by Willie Porter.

In 1949, with encouragement from the Boys' Brigade 12th Company, he began his diving career. He joined the East of Scotland training squad at HMS Caledonia, Rosyth under the direction of Jim Amos, from Portobello ASC.

With a shortage of indoor diving facilities in Edinburgh, he trained at Wishaw and Rosyth and in the summer honed his skills on the open air boards at Portobello.

A younger contemporary of Edinburgh's Sir Peter Heatly – who won British Empire (Commonwealth Games) gold medals – Law competed in the British Championships and regularly reached the finals of the one-metre and three-metre springboard events. From 1951-64 he was either a winner or runner-up at Scottish National Championships.

In 1958, Law achieved a career highlight when he represented Scotland at the British Empire Games in Cardiff, and he came a creditable sixth in the high board and springboard event.

Law retired from competitive diving in 1962, then successfully turned his hand to coaching, and when internationalist Linda Philips and university champion Malcolm Taylor came under his wing, diving really developed in Scotland.

Law started a display team and attracted good young divers, including Fiona Hotson, who joined Warrender as Scottish Champion and achieved success as an international diver in the 1970s. Law was Scottish national diving coach from 1966-1993.

The opening of Edinburgh's Royal Commonwealth Pool in 1970 meant the long car journeys to Wishaw and Rosyth were over and, with the backing of the City of Edinburgh Council, the Edinburgh Diving Club was formed in 1971. Law was president for the first ten years.

He also continued in swimming administration and was elected president of Warrender Baths Club from 1966-68. He was director of diving when the Commonwealth Games were held in Edinburgh in 1970, a post he again held when the Games returned to his home city in 1986.

At the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Canada he was a diving judge and he attended every Games until 2006, as a team manager, referee or judge. He was a member of the Commonwealth Games Council for Scotland from 1966-90 and in 1992 was appointed diving team manager at the Olympic Games in Barcelona – an appointment that fulfilled his managerial aspirations.

Louise Martin CBE, chair of Sportscotland and former chairman of the Commonwealth Games Council for Scotland, said: "I knew Bill for the best part of 40 years. His contribution to swimming and diving and as a volunteer in Scotland will be sadly missed. His standard of judging was valued throughout the Commonwealth, especially at the Commonwealth and Olympic Games."

Law received many awards including life membership and honorary presidency of Warrender Baths Club, life membership of the Scottish Amateur Swimming Association and the UK Sports Council and VIP gold medal and honorary presidency of Edinburgh Diving Club.

Law's golfing career began in the early 1960s and he rapidly reduced his handicap to single figures, playing to around four for more than 20 years. He first hit shots on Bruntsfield Links, close to his home in Tollcross, and he later became a member of Lochend and Duddingston golf clubs.

A long-time committee member at Duddingston, he was captain from 1981-83 and was awarded life membership last year.

Law was invited to join Corstorphine 8.30 Golf Club, founded in 1924 by commuters on the Corstorphine to Waverley train, and became captain in 1985. He was awarded life membership in 2008.

Always eager to give something back to sport, Law served as assistant secretary of the Edinburgh and East of Scotland Golfers Alliance and as captain and president of the Society of Edinburgh and Lothians Golf Club, where he was instrumental in starting the biennial dinner. In 2001, he was appointed a life member.

While sport was a massive part of Law's life, his family were even more important. When he left school he became an apprentice glazier with Cunningham, Dickson and Walker. He specialised in leaded glass and completed the windows in the Lorimer Chapel at Warriston Crematorium. It was in the same chapel that his funeral was held last month.

Due to lack of work, he was made redundant and switched to the insurance profession. It was while working for the Scottish Insurance Corporation that he met his wife-to-be, Marion Cameron. They married in March 1961 and spent 48 happy years together.

They brought up three children in the family home in Silverknowes – Suzanne, Fiona and David – and Law was thrilled by the arrival, in 2001, of his first grandchild, Fiona's son, Rowan. All of them survive him

 
 
 

Back to the top of the page