Mourners flock to McLaren funeral
January 25, 2010
Scottish internationals Mike Blair, Chris Paterson and Nathan Hines attend the funeral of Bill McLaren © PA Photos
Hundreds of mourners have gathered for the funeral of the 'voice of rugby', legendary commentator Bill McLaren.
The former BBC broadcaster died last week in hospital aged 86, prompting a flood of tributes from the rugby world. The service was held at Teviot Church in his home town of Hawick, in the Scottish Borders.
McLaren's grandchildren were on hand to give out Hawick Balls, his favourite sweets, to people as they made their way into the church. Among those in attendance were Scotland's record points-holder Chris Paterson, Scotland co-captain Mike Blair, lock Nathin Hines, former skipper Gavin Hastings, Andy Irvine and Andy Nicol.
The service was broadcast over a PA system to those gathered outside, with only friends and family attending the service itself. McLaren was buried at the town's Wellogate Cemetery.
His grandson, Gregor Lawson, paid tribute at the service on behalf of the family.
"We cannot believe how many people are here. It is so important for us to be united with so many other people who love Bill McLaren as much as we do," he said. "We're here to lay to rest a great man. A great Hawick man, a great rugby man and a great family man.
"We have been amazed by the response from the media, such touching tributes from the great and the good of the rugby world and far further afield, and just as important, people we've met on Hawick High Street over the past week or so.
"So much has been said by people significantly more important and erudite than me about his unparalleled impartiality, his iconic voice, his professionalism, his gentlemanly nature and his ambassadorship for both rugby and Scotland. Whilst we have shed many tears through sadness, a great many have also been shed simply through bursting with pride."