A man who has spent the best part of 40 years involved with Highland Games across the Highlands and North East of Scotland has been announced as this year’s Chieftain for the Forres event.
Jim Lawther a well-known Forres volunteer has been given the honour for his contribution to the Forres Highland Games committee which began in 1987.
A former aircraft electrician in the RAF, Jim who also volunteers with the Forres Heritage Trust and Forres Area Credit Union and is a volunteer buddy, became involved in the Games after being posted to RAF Kinloss.
He was persuaded to get involved by Forres Highland Games president Fred Davidson, and before he knew it was qualifying as an athletics official and was travelling all over Moray and the Highlands officiating at different Games.
“I’m absolutely delighted to be given the honour of being Chieftain.
“It’s certainly not something that I expected.
“It’s been part of my life for a very long time, and I am looking forward to being able to see the Games from a different perspective this year.”
Over the years, Jim has carried out most roles on the day of the Forres Highland Games which this year takes place in Grant Park on July 8, as he explained:
“I have done most roles from doing the gate, being in the secretary’s tent, acting as the arena manager and I am keen to help out in the run up to the day itself by helping to mark out the arena and getting the site ready.”
“Interestingly, although I am a qualified field official and have travelled to many, many Highland Games to judge, it is many years since I have officiated at Forres Highland Games as I have always been too busy doing other tasks.”
Now in the 95th anniversary of the founding of the Games, the event has always been a real international affair attracting participants and thousands of spectators.
The event incorporates massed pipe bands, Highland dancing, piping and drumming, sideshows, stalls and other entertainment, but it is the track and field events which Jim likes the most.
“My two favourite events are the caber toss and the Scots hammer.
“If you see a skilful athlete, who does it really well it’s fantastic, there is a real skill to it and it can be amazing to watch.”
Jim, who has been a sponsor of the junior heavy events for many years added:
“I also love seeing the youngsters compete and giving it their all.
“Where they are placed is neither here nor there, it’s just great to see youngsters turn up and have such passion for whichever event they are competing in.”
Fred Davidson, president of the Forres Highland Games said:
“The trustees of the Forres Highland Games wish to sincerely thank Jim for the many years of much valued service to our organisation.
“Jim has always been an active and well-respected committee member and trustee, fully contributing to the organising and running of the Games each year and helping drive innovation and continuous improvement and success.
“On the day, Jim will be invited to take part in the opening ceremony, parading behind Forres and District Pipe Band, then delivering a few words of welcome over the PA system to all before declaring the Games officially open.”