South Scotland

Bill McLaren rugby centre preferred Hawick site chosen

Volunteer Park
Image caption The Volunteer Park in Hawick has been earmarked as the preferred location for the Bill McLaren Centre for World Rugby

A preferred site has been selected for a world rugby centre to be built in Hawick in honour of Bill McLaren.

The Volunteer and Buccleuch Park areas of the town could see the creation of the visitor attraction.

The Bill McLaren Foundation, set up to honour the "voice of rugby" after his death in January 2010, believes they would be the best location.

As well as the centre, the plans would also see an upgrade of existing facilities for a range of sports.

A 3G pitch, similar to the one already operational at Netherdale in Galashiels, is proposed, offering a first-class playing surface.

The focus would also be on nurturing the sporting ethos in young people which Bill McLaren himself personified.

Brian Renwick of the foundation said plans were at a very early stage but a steering group was being formed and it was hoped that local sports clubs and organisations would unite behind the ambitious scheme.

He added that many challenges lay ahead, with funding an issue given the current financial climate.

However, it was envisaged that applications would be made to a number of potential sources, including SportScotland.

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