President’s medal awarded to Blair Young
Although this citation was read at the AGM and the Scottish Champs in 2011, it was recently pointed out to me that it did not appear on the SOA website or in SCORE after the 2011 AGM. My apologies to Blair, and hopefully this is some recompense…
One of the key slides in my recent presentation to the IOF representative for the WoC 2015 bid was a photo taken outside the Scottish Parliament at the start of the ISF World Schools Orienteering Championships in 2008. It enabled me to show three items, key to our bid, and reflected back in the draft report we have just received from the IOF. It demonstrated Scottish Orienteering's close links and support with the Government; it demonstrated that Scottish Orienteering was used to running World events, and attracting visitors from across the globe; it demonstrated that Scotland was an exciting and popular place to come to. It made me reflect on the fact that SOA had not recognised Blair Young for his efforts that week, and over the past 17 years.
I understand that Blair's involvement goes back to around 1994 with the Scottish Schools Orienteering Association; his involvement with the World Schools Competition goes back to 2004. Over that period, Blair has stuck with the philosophy of "trying to convert school children who do a bit of orienteering into orienteers". One of the key events of that 2008 World Schools Event (hosted in Scotland), and indeed all such events, is the last event - the Friendship Relay. For those of you not aware, this is an opportunity for the children to mix up their teams, and run in a team made up of several nations - surely an example to all of us of what our sport is about - competition, fun and fellowship.
Over the years, Blair has been enthusiastically supported by Terry O'Brien, and while not awarding Terry today, I would similarly like to pay tribute to his dedication over the years to support the Scottish Schools and World Schools event. Blair and Terry are really a team - both guys have a long history of planning, organising and controlling events at all levels in Scotland. Without their tireless efforts our sport would be poorer.
Blair, Terry and Kate have just returned from this year's (2011) event in Italy with a successful team of 18 - including an individual Gold for Jennifer Ricketts. Just imagine the inspiration they have given to those 18 Juniors, which will live with them for the rest of their lives.
Blair, I'm sorry I can't present this personally today at the 2011 Scottish Champs - work commitments have taken me across the Atlantic… On behalf of Scottish Orienteering, thanks for your major contribution to developing our youth.