Thursday, July 7, 2022
1Bill McLaren’s family “overwhelmed” by love ahead of funeral

Bill McLaren’s family “overwhelmed” by love ahead of funeral

By Michael MacLeod

ICONIC Scottish rugby commentator Bill McLaren will be laid to rest in his hometown of Hawick tomorrow (Monday).

Loudspeakers will relay his funeral service to the thousands of people expected to pay their respects to the man remembered as “the voice of rugby.”

He died last week aged 86 after a long illness, with wife Bette and daughter Linda by his side.

They will be among those at the Borders town’s Teviot Church for his service this morning (Monday), before the cortege moves on to Wellogate cemetery nearby.

Hawick’s High Street will be closed by police to allow the public to pay their respects as the funeral cortege passes through the town.

His daughter Linda spoke at the weekend of the “heart-warming” public response to her family’s loss.

She said: “We have been overwhelmed by all the messages of support, phone calls, texts and emails.

“It’s been really heart-warming.

“Although dad wanted to be at home, we owe a great debt to the community hospital and doctors, Doctor Bruce in particular, and the nurses.

“The community hospital made our journey with dad an awful lot easier to manage.

“The nurses said they felt privileged to look after dad and many of them were former pupils of his.

“Thanks also to Hawick Rugby Club for so much help in arranging dad’s funeral.”

The club has also opened a book of condolence at Hawick Town Hall for the public to leave messages following McLaren’s death.

Born in 1923, McLaren was respected by players, coaches and fans worldwide and was awarded an OBE, CBE and MBE for services to sport.

His strong Scottish Borders accent and imaginative turns of phrase during matches made his voice unmistakable.

One of his most famous quotes is: “They’ll be dancing in the streets of Hawick tonight.”

Others included: “He’s like a demented ferret up a wee drainpipe,” and “those props are as cunning as a bag of weasels.”

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said McLaren would be “remembered with affection.”

He said: “His expertise, enthusiasm and passion for rugby union inspired young and old alike.

“Bill was a fixture of our national sporting life, and will be missed greatly but remembered with affection.”

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