Peter Dods gets Borders Hall of Fame joy

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FORMER Gala and Scotland full-back Peter Dods is the latest inductee to the Scottish Borders Sporting Hall of Fame.

The 1984 Grand Slam winner was guest of honour at the ‘Celebration of Sport’ event held in the Cardrona Hotel, Peebles and hosted by BBC sports presenter Alison Walker.

“It is a great honour to be recognised by the Borders people,” Dods said, “and though it is a long time ago now there are still times most days when I stop for a moment and think back to that Grand Slam, and some of the great memories I have of playing for Scotland.

“This was a wonderful event and great to see so many amazing sporting talents coming from such a small part of Scotland. We have always punched above our weight in the Borders and it’s great to see that continuing with talent in so many different sports.”

Promising sailor Callum Airlie from Gordon, one of the surprise group of young athletes chosen to light the Olympic cauldron in London last year, was recognised at the event with an ‘Inspirational Performance’ award, while the Borders’ first born-and-bred Olympic gold medallist, showjumper Scott Brash, collected a ‘World Achievement Award’.

Borders Sport and Leisure this year took on the organisation of the event, which was launched nearly 20 years ago by the James McLean Trust as part of the legacy left by the late director of education.

BSLT Chief Executive Ewan Jackson said: “This was a wonderful event that was a shining beacon for Borders sport for many years through the commitment of the James McLean Trust.

“Since it ended two years ago we have worked hard to find the resources to bring it back, and with the organisation of ambitious BSLT staff, and support from sponsors GB Telecom and The Southern Reporter, Wendy McLean and her family, and Scottish Borders Council we have launched a new ‘Celebration of Sport’.

“The public played their part with several thousand votes cast for nominees, and it was great to see so many sportspeople and their families represented at the first event at Cardona. We are confident that it will grow to again become a fantastic celebration of the depth and quality of sport in this incredibly rich area and help to inspire future generations.”

Another former Gala and Scotland rugby player, Chris Paterson, the most-capped male rugby player who retired last year, won the public vote for ‘Sports Personality of the Year’ while British junior judo champion Abby Blackie picked up the ‘Junior Sports Personality of the Year’.

The Peebles Netball Club won the ‘Team of the Year’ on another public vote after sweeping up a series of Scottish Youth, District and Schools titles at various age-groups, and producing new internationalists. The ‘Tour of Britain’ cycle race, which brought Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish through Jedburgh and into local schools, was voted the ‘Borders Sporting Event of the Year’.

Leading Scottish judo coach Peter Gardiner won ‘Coach of the Year’, blind sprinter Libby Clegg picked up the ‘Disability Sports Performance of the Year’, schools hockey coach Mary Weir was honoured with the ‘Unsung Hero’ trophy and the ‘Club of the Year’ award went to Gala Harriers, the athletics club that has grown to over 200 members, launched disabled coaching, won countless national and international honours and produced internationalists as well as creating a popular focus for running for all ages around the Borders.