Historic medal awarded at North East Highland games

Antony Daffurn (left) accepts historic medal from Scott Fraser (right)-Antony Daffurn (left) accepts historic medal from Scott Fraser (right)-
Antony Daffurn (left) accepts historic medal from Scott Fraser (right)-
An historic medal has made its way back to the village of Cornhill, 136 years after it was first awarded as part of the Cornhill Athletic Sports gathering in 1888.

The silver medal, inscribed with ‘Cornhill Games 1888’, was for sale recently on an online auction site and was gathering quite an interest.

Members of Ballater based StrathDee tug of war team found the medal online and decided to try to purchase it with the intention of donating it to the Cornhill Highland Games committee.

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Scott Fraser, a founding member of StrathDee, and Honorary Vice President of Ballater Highland Games, contacted the seller and was able to secure purchase of the medal. Upon receipt, Mr Fraser cleaned up the medal, restoring it to its former glory.

Enlisting the help of fellow representative of the Royal Scottish Highland Games Association, Alasdair MacDonald, Mr Fraser was also able to obtain press coverage from the Cornhill Athletic Sports of 1888. According to the press coverage dated 6 July 1888, the event had drawn competitors from as far afield as Aberdeen, Dundee and Inverness, and was quoted as being “far and away the most successful of the kind which has ever taken place at Cornhill”. He also ascertained that the medal had originally been presented at the 1888 event to Mr Williamson of Cornhill, recognising his efforts as best local competitor.

Upon contacting the Cornhill Highland Games committee, it was decided to award the medal to the overall Track and Light Events competitor at the 2024 Games. The gesture was made more significant as the event was celebrating 25 years in its present form.

The medal was presented to 37-year-old Antony Daffurn from Hamilton, who was the overall Track and Light Events winner of the Cornhill Highland Games which took place on Saturday, June 1.

Competing at Highland games since he was 8-years-old, Mr Daffurn holds over 25 games records in the long, triple and high jump, and is currently the World and European Masters triple jump champion. He was delighted to accept the medal which was presented by Mr Fraser.

Mr Fraser said: “Ballater Highland Games and Cornhill Highland Games have always had a strong relationship, due mainly to tug o' war competitions, but also due to Ballater and District Pipe Band visiting the event regularly in the past. I thought it was fitting that the medal should be reunited and incorporated as part of the current Cornhill Highland Games. Having been at the first Cornhill Highland Games in 1999, and most years since, I was honoured to be asked to present the medal to Antony on the day.”

Cornhill Highland Games committee member, David McKenzie added: “We are grateful to Scott for obtaining the medal and generously donating it back to the Cornhill Highland Games committee. It has preserved significant history of the event which we will now ensure carries on into the future recognising the efforts of our event competitors.”

The medal will continue to be presented annually at the Cornhill Highland Games to recognise overall Track and Light Events winners.

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