THE CONTRIBUTION made to sport in Arbroath over more than half a century by two well known representatives of local clubs was recognised by Angus Council at a ceremony The Saltire Centre on Monday night.
Depute Provost of Angus Alex King presented a hip flask to Jim McKechnie of Arbroath Lads’ Club, and Doug Ford of Arbroath Amateur Boxing Club received a quaich.
Councillor King said: “People can serve their communities in many different ways and tonight’s gathering marks the dedication of two local sports coaches who have served their respective clubs for over 50 years each.
“They have helped the youngsters they have dealt with focus on sport in their formative years. Even though many may leave in their late teens or early 20s they will still carry with them the discipline and integrity their training has instilled.”
Mr McKechnie retired from the committee of Arbroath Lads’ Club only last week after an incredible 53 years’ service to the club.
He first became a committee member in 1959 only a few years after the building of the club huts in Alexandra Place. He was elected club treasurer in 1977, a post he held until his recent retiral.
When asked for his most memorable moment, he recalled assisting the 1969 under-18 team which was coached by Dave Easson junior. The Lads’ Club team beat Fairholm Thistle 1-0 at Douglas Park, Hamilton, in the final of the Under-18 Scottish Cup.
The week following the match the team was given a civic reception in the Town House to mark the achievement.
At the Lads’ Club annual general meeting, president Gavin Paterson presented Jim with a commemorative trophy in recognition of his service and the Brenda McFarlane Shield which is awarded annually for outstanding contribution to the club.
At the club meeting, Mr Paterson said: “There is no doubt that the healthy state of the club finances is largely down to Jim’s excellent and hard work over the years.
“Many people in the town who have been part of Lads’ Club in some way will be happy to hear that the club is as strong as ever and that Jim McKechnie has been a massive part of that success.”
Mr Ford was one of the founding members of Arbroath Amateur Boxing Club in 1960 with his late brother, Dave, and a former Royal Naval Air Service Condor serviceman, the late Jack Hall.
During his time with the club Mr Ford has held numerous posts and is currently chairman. He is well respected in the boxing world for his wealth of knowledge and ability as a top class international judge.
He has been selected to officiate at the Commonwealth games and has acted as Scottish team manager on a trip to Denmark.
During the 50 years and more that he has been involved with boxing he has also found the time and energy to raise many thousands of pounds for various charities through various events, the best known of which is perhaps the annual Charity Boxing Show.
Mr Ford still maintains an active interest in the running of the club and the training it provides.
Although he maintains he will have to ease back on his workload, everyone close to him knows that will never happen.