A VERY warm welcome to everyone to this the 135th Nairn Highland Games in this the Diamond Jubilee Year of Her Majesty The Queen.
I say this every year that we live in hope that our day is blessed with sunshine so we can all enjoy the spectacle of the only free games in Scotland on our beautiful town links which must be one of the most spectacular venues for any such gathering in Scotland.
And if it does get a wee bit chilly or a wee bit damp wrap up and show the same spirit the crowds on the Mall and outside Buckingham Palace in June for the Queen’s 60th anniversary celebrations.
Time stands still for no-one and since the curtain came down on last year’s games a faithful band of volunteers have continued the good work to ensure everything is in place so you can enjoy this year’s spectacle.
That it all comes together and runs smoothly on the day never ceases to amaze me and I know without the loyal support of these volunteers and the efforts of Highland Council Tec Services staff it would not be possible to bring this event together.
In this year’s programme we have a special feature with coverage of the Games in the Coronation Year in 1952 from our local paper The Nairnshire Telegraph.
It perhaps goes unsaid but this gives me an opportunity to thank the Nairnshire for the exposure it gives to the Games, publishing all our results and lots of photographs we can treasure for years to come.
It goes without saying it is a special event in the town’s calendar and visitors will be interested to know that exiles from Nairn travel from all over the world to be here to catch up with old friends on this special day.
To say we live in challenging times is an understatement and as convener I would like to thank everyone who has sponsored an event, become a Friend of the Nairn Games or puts a pound in the collection boxes which you will see come round the arena this afternoon.
In recent years we have lost major sponsors but we are grateful for the continuing support of Macallan Whisky for this year’s even and of course the many other sponsors you will see mentioned in the programme.
A legacy from the Homecoming Scotland event has been the flying of some of the Commonwealth flags and the the Stars and Stripes of the USA.
Many Scots of course went abroad to make their mark around the world and these games have always an international flavour with visitors from across the globe. As Convener it is my pleasure to welcome you all – whether your journey has been short or long – and I hope you enjoy the afternoon of competition .
To exiled locals who have been enjoying the ‘hamecoming reunions’ in local hostelries this weekend I hope these events have been all you could have wished them to be and that you have met up with many old friends and are enjoying your day out at the Games.
I would again rmind everyone of course that The Nairn Games are unique in that they are the only free games in Scotland. The only seats that are paid for are those inside the arena fence and that income of course goes towards offsetting our not inconsiderable costs.
The committee depends on the generosity and goodwill of the public and many local businesses who generously support us. By making donations when we send out collection pails round the arena during the course of the afternoon you can also contribute. Not forgetting of course our Friends of Nairn Games who pledge their support with an annual donation of £10. (Details about joining Friends of Nairn Games can be found elsewhere
in the programme).
Thanks also to our Games officials who ensure the athletics programme runs smoothly and in accordance with S.A.L. rules not to mention our dancing and piping judges who oversee their competitions and Nairn Road Runners who are responsible for organising the Half-Marathon which continues to grow in popularity. One of the most popular innovations to the Nairn Games of recent years has been the parade of the massed pipe bands and I would like to take this opportunity of thanking all the band members who travel from as far afield as Caithness in the north to Aberdeenshire in the east and Skye in the west.
It is the biggest massed bands parade at any Games in Scotland and we know from speaking to people how much pleasure the spectacle of the bands marching on to the arena means to everyone. We thank them all again for their attendance here today and hope it will continue to be a feature at Nairn for many years to come. To the athletes, pipers and dancers I wish you the very best in all your endeavours today and I am sure we can all look forward to another memorable gathering.
The Macallan Nairn Highland Games Committee
Chieftain: Lord Cawdor
Convener: S Ross
Committee Secretary: S Farrell
Treasurer: G Forbes
Athletics / Entries Secretary: S Ross
Committee: E.Mann, T.Marshall, R.Wilkinson, Cllr M.Green, Cllr C. Macaulay, L.Rutter, D.Morrison, H.Allison, D.Wilson, M.Oag, L.Macaulay, D. Prior, J. Dolan.
For more information you can contact:
Call Gordon Forbes on 01667 452422
(For trade stances phone HC Ward Manager on 01667 458511)
Pipe Band Enquiries
Call Lyn Rutter on 01667 451075
Call Alister Stewart on 01667 462173