One of the Borders proudest sons passed away today. Bill McLaren, along with quality knitwear and those nice sweeties Hawick Balls, summed up all that was great about the tight no nonsense community on the banks of the Teviot. A proud Teri, he lived the dream for any Borderer, getting to watch rugby and not having to pay.
When I started in journalism it was as a cub reporter for the Southern Reporter in Selkirk. Covering rugby was a given and most Saturdays were taken up at the Greenyards or Netherdale soaking up the old rivalries. I also covered the International matches, and the day before I’d go to Murrayfield to watch the squad going through their paces. Bill was always there, long camel coat, clipboard, a cheery word and a bag of sweeties to hand round.
At the time the game was amateur and the Scotland team was dominated by Borderers. I’m sure it made him proud, but he never showed it. He supported the team when the city teams started to dominate, money started to change hands and the game changed forever.
He was a legend and will be sadly missed.