Wednesday, August 16, 2017

James S Hamilton

Fraser Hamilton, the son of one of our life members dropped in to Scotstoun recently to view our display cabinet and he subsequently asked if we would be interested in his father’s medals from his athletics career.  His father was James Steven Hamilton.

James S Hamilton was born in Partick in 1928 and attended Victoria Drive Secondary School where he developed his interest in athletics.  In 1944 he was their senior sports champion.  His medal from the period is shown right:

He showed great promise as a junior athlete and cut his teeth competing at the likes of Shawfield, Westerlands, Firhill and Ibrox.

His first national junior medal was won on the 8th of June 1946 at the Scottish AAA Championships at Meadowbank.  He won the 880 yards or half mile event in a time of 2:02.2.

On the 21st of June that same year he won his first senior medal at the Scottish AAA Championships at Hampden Park where he finished 2nd in the 880 yards in a time of 1:59.3.  He followed that by running the first leg (440yds) of the medley relay ahead of A S Warren (220yds), George MacDonald (220yds) and J B Panton (440yds) who finished in 1st place in a combined time of 2:40.2.

In July 1946 he travelled to the Junior AAA's at Birmingham where he finished 2nd in the 880 yds with a time of 2:02.0.

In 1947, he finished 2nd in the 880 yards at the Scottish AAA Championships at Hampden Park.

After that date, he served three years national service in the Army.  He was based at Aldershot and served in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME).  His athletic career did continue during that period and as you can see right, he was part of the winning Army team that won the Inter Services Athletic Championships in 1948.

When he returned to Glasgow after his national service, he found employment as a bank clerk and very quickly resumed his athletic career.

He was 1st in the 440 yards at the Scottish AAA Championships at Hampden Park in 1950 which allowed Victoria Park to award him life membership and gained him selection to the Scottish team that competed against England and Ireland at the Triangular Athletic Match at White City, London in 1950.  Also representing the Club that day were Alan Paterson, George MacDonald and the Olympian Willie Jack.

In 1951, he was 2nd in the 440 yards at the Scottish AAA Championships at Hampden Park in a time of 50.5s.

He was selected once again to represent Scotland at the Triangular Athletic Match at Recreation Park, Dunoon in 1951 against teams from England and Ireland.  He was joined on that occasion by Vicky Park teammates Andy Forbes, Alan Paterson, K Cunningham, P Milligan and Willie Jack.

In 1953 he again ran the first leg of the medley relay for the winning Victoria Park team at Meadowbank.  The team that day was James Hamilton (880yds), Ronnie Whitelock (220yds), Harry Quinn (220yds) and his brother Bobby Quinn (440yds).

Hi emigrated in 1953 to Vancouver in Canada where he again worked as a bank clerk and joined the Vancouver Olympic Club. 

He chose to represent Scotland at the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games at Vancouver, Canada where he finished 6th in the 880 yards in a time of 1:52.7.  Victoria Park were also represented at the games by Ian Binnie who was 7th in the 3 mile race with a time of 13:59.6 and 6th in the 6 mile race with a time of 30:15.2.  Only 5 male athletes represented Scotland at these games.

In the picture right, Ian Binnie is on the left and James is 5th from the left.

James eventually returned to Scotland with his wife in 1960 where they started a family.

He eventually passed away in September 2011 having said very little over the years about his exploits on the track.  His son Fraser vividly remembers incidents from his childhood where he played with and swapped many of the shiny medals, not knowing their importance or relevance.

His family have kindly donated his medal (pictured right) that was awarded to all of the competing athletes at the games.  It will be displayed in the Club display cabinet at Scotstoun.


Gordon Innes

Dr William (Bill) D H Conacher

Sad news today of the passing of one of our life members.  Jane Roy contacted the club to tell us that her father, Dr William (Bill) D H Conacher, a Life Member of Victoria Park since 1947, passed away peacefully last Thursday at the age of 91 after a long illness.

Bill was Victoria Park's Club Champion, Scottish Champion, Scottish Universities Champion, and picked as a possible for the GB relay team at the 1948 London Olympics, although he was later confirmed only as a reserve.  He excelled at 440 yds but also competed at 220 yds.  He had the honour of carrying the flag for the Scottish Team in Paris in 1947 at the European Student Games.  He later competed for the RAF during his National Service after WWII.

In 1945 Bill was part of the Victoria Park Medley Relay quartet that appeared as a AAA Select and won their event at an International Meeting at the White City in London.  The team on that occassion was G Smellie, G Macdonald, W D H Conacher and J B Panton.

He went on to become Consultant Physician at Bangour General Hospital, West Lothian, from 1960 until his retirement.

There should be a death notice appearing in the Scotsman this coming Friday, the 2nd of October and Sir Tam Dalyell, former MP for West Lothian is preparing an obituary for the Independent Newspaper.  (Obituary-Independent)

Friends are invited to his funeral to be held on Friday the 9th of October at 2pm at Warriston Crematorium, Edinburgh, and afterwards at Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society, 32 Barnton Avenue, Davidson’s Mains, Edinburgh.

Gordon Innes

Jimmy Christie

It is with much regret that we have received the sad news that one of our longest standing members, Jimmy ChrJimmy Christieistie, has passed away at the age of 82 years.  Jimmy had been in hospital for some weeks, having suffered a number of strokes from which he failed to recover.  Jimmy first joined Victoria Park on the 28th May 1946 and was still competing in July 2012 at the grand age of 81 years throwing the Javelin and Shot Putt in Dunfermline at the Scottish Athletics Masters’ Championship. 

During his years of membership of Victoria Park, Jimmy was involved in most aspects of volunteering within the Club – Coaching, Team Managing, Officiating and sitting on the Committee as Vice President and President for a period of time in the late 60s-early 70s.  It was in the early 70s that Jimmy began competing as a Veteran athlete and clearly enjoyed representing his club in Pentathlon events and taking part in Glasgow Marathons and Half Marathons. 

He was also a long time member of the Scottish Veteran Harriers Club.  His boundless energy would have been a credit to people half his age and Victoria Park City of Glasgow will be made poorer by his passing.  He has been a true role-model.
Jimmy was a very recognisable figure within the Scottish Athletics community and will be sadly missed by all who knew him.  Our sincere condolences go to his family and friends.
Jimmy’s funeral will be held at Craigton Cemetery, Berryknowes Road, Cardonald, Glasgow, G52 2DB on Monday 22nd July at 1.30pm.

Ronnie Whitelock

Ronnie Whitelock, one of our best loved and respected life members passed away in Hospital late on Friday the 7th of December with his family around him.

Born in 1932, Ronnie joined Victoria Park at Scotstoun as a junior in 1947.  He was clearly an exceptionally talented sprinter and he was quickly promoted to the senior squad where he was coached by the late Willie McFarlane.

During his Ronnie at Scotsounearly years, he served his apprenticeship at John Browns shipyard before securing his long term future in the drawing office.  It was there that his colleagues fashioned a set of starting blocks from a 4”x4” block of wood and two off cuts of aluminium.  Those very starting blocks were used throughout what was to become a very illustrious career.

In his early career, he enjoyed success at the Rangers Sports, the Police Sports and a variety of Highland Games at the then venues of Ibrox Stadium, Hampden Park, Helenvale and Westerlands.

In 1956 he was part of the winning Victoria Park 4x110 yards relay team at the Scottish Championships in Meadowbank.  The team was Alan Dunbar, Bobby Quinn, Harry Quinn and Ronnie.  This group became lifelong friends and up until quite recently they would meet regularly and rib each other about past glories.

1957 was probably his best year on the track, winning gold at the Scottish Championships over 100 yards with a time of 9.8 seconds, winning gold in the 4x110 yards relay, competing for Scotland and competing for Great Britain against Russia at White City.  The latter earning him life membership of Victoria Park.

He went on to win two more Scottish sprintRonnie in action titles in 1959 and 1962.  He was a member of the winning Victoria Park 4x110 yards relay teams on four occasions and represented Scotland in at least four international matches.

Once his successful career as an athlete was over he continued as a coach for many years and many younger athletes benefitted from his experience.  Ronnie had a great sense of humour and he was always popular with the youngsters.

Always keen to be involved in athletics he became a track referee, a track judge and a marksman.  He officiated over many years at all levels and made a name for himself as a track referee for disability athletics.  He was much sought after and for many years was the track referee at the Bute Highland Games.

He was still officiating last winter within the Kelvin Hall and he was present at Victoria Park Glasgow’s last but one agm.

His last trip to Scotstoun was in October this year to see the Club’s newly completed display cabinet.  Thanks to his generosity, the centre piece of the display is those very same starting blocks which were made for him in the 1950’s with his handmade leather running shoes in situ.

Everyone who knew Ronnie said he was a lovely kind man “a gentleman”.  He’ll be greatly missed by all.

His funeral will take place at 3pm on Thursday the 13th of December at Clydebank Crematorium.  All friends and club-mates are invited to join his wife Irene, son Donald and daughter Elspeth for the service.  The family have requested no black ties.  Club colours would be a nice touch.