Next weekend’s Scottish Schools’ Championships at Grangemouth Stadium mark a landmark – the golden jubilee of the AH Dalrymple Trophy. It is awarded to the outstanding male thrower.
Last year it went to Strathallan School’s George Evans and the first winner back in 1966 was Colin Harris from Daniel Stewart’s College (now Stewart’s Melville).
Sandy Sutherland, the renowned Scottish athletics journalist, established the trophy in memory of a man who had a huge influence on his own career.
Alex Dalrymple was a Glasgow-born PE teacher and former Second World War bomber navigator who moved to Golspie when Sutherland was in his second year at the local high school.
“I was trying to be a sprinter,” he explained. “But he persuaded me to try the shot and discus. Within two years I had broken the under-15 Scottish Schoolboys 4k shot record by ten feet. The following year I won the Eric Liddell Memorial Trophy (the top male award at the Scottish Schools’ Championships) for setting two records in the next 15-17 years age group.
“In my sixth year, I broke the senior shot record by nearly 8ft and retained the Eric Liddell Trophy.”
Sutherland went on to win the Scottish senior shot title twice, once in 1965 and again in 1971. Ian McPherson, from Lairg, who had also been coached by “Daly”, won Scottish senior titles in both shot put and discus.
But sadly Dalrymple, who first moved to West Bromwich to teach before returning to Scotland to take up the post of warden of Glenmore Lodge, died in 1962 of cancer at the age of only 39.
Sutherland admits his death hit him hard and, thereafter, he failed to build on his achievements.
But he set about raising money for the AH Dalrymple Trophy, and it is now one of the most coveted Scottish schools sporting awards.