Rally driver Euan wins top sporting award

IT could be a week he will never forget for Duns rally driver Euan Thorburn.

Not only was Euan crowned the 2012 Berwickshire ‘Sports Personality of the Year’ but his wife Aynsley is due to give birth to their first child.

Berwickshire Sports Awards at Duns Volunteer Hall.

Berwickshire Sports Awards at Duns Volunteer Hall.

Euan was presented with his award at a ceremony held in the Volunteer Hall, Duns, on Friday night in front of a large gathering of the region’s top sporstmen and women.

After kick-starting his rallying career at the wheel of a Peugeot 205 GTi, Euan has progressed rapidly through the ranks and he is now a serious challenge to Britain’s elite drivers and 2012 has been a remarkable year for Euan.

Just days before the opening round of the 2012 Scottish Championship he acquired an ex-works 2001 Ford Focus WRC, previously driven by former world champion Carlos Sainz.

After a settling in period and getting used to competing in a left hand drive car for the first time, Euan stormed to a serious of podium finishes on both sides of the border.

Berwickshire Sports Awards at Duns Volunteer Hall.

Berwickshire Sports Awards at Duns Volunteer Hall.

In this year’s Scottish Championship he won the Speyside Rally, finished second in both the Scottish International and Granite City rallies and was sixth in the Border Counties.

South of the border he also achieved podium finishes in both the Plains Rally and Malcolm Wilson Rally beating some of the top drivers from the UK and abroad.

However, his outstanding achievement of this year was undoubtedly the double success in his home event - the Jim Clark Memorial Rally.

Euan won the National event which was run over Friday and Saturday and then went on to win the Reivers Rally on the Sunday by a country mile. A remarkable achievement.

Junior Sports Personality is young Duns Taekwondo black belt Billy Short.

Three years ago, Billy began learning martial arts. He joined the Berwick-based Master Harkess Taekwondo School, and trains there every Saturday morning.

Billy showed a real flair for the sport, winning two gold medals at the British Championships last year. And this year, at just 10 years of age, he gained his Black Belt – an amazing achievement for someone so young.

Coach of the Year is Neil Oliver, manager of Duns Football Club.

Neil is the man responsible for bringing East of Scotland League football back to the town of Duns after an absence of 36 years.

Neil took up the manager’s post at Duns in 2009 and since his appointment the club has never looked back.

They won the Border Amateur League Division A tiitle in his first year as boss and was one of those behind the successful bid to join the East of Scotland League in season 2010/11.

Many critics wondered if the club was ready for East of Scotland League football but Neil, and his assistant Stevie Lennon, proved them all wrong. Duns finished fifth in the First Division and reached the South Challenge Cup Final in their debut season, a remarkable achievement by anyone’s standards.

Neil has also been instrumental in the ambitious plans which will hopefully see not only a new pitch at the old high school but also a state-of-the art indoor 3G pitch in the former Games Hall building as well as refurbished changing facilities.

Junior Coach of the Year is Kara White from Duns. Kara is a member of Duns Badminton Club and has been coaching there for the past two years. She also helps with the coaching of the Borders Primary squad.

The Team of the Year award went to the Chirnside Bowling Club triple of Helen Kenny, Kay Purves and Sheila Douglas who won the Scottish Ladies Two Bowl Triples title in Glasgow.

There were two Service to Local Sport awards, for male and female.

Male winner was Alan Foster from Greenlaw for over 30 years service to Greenlaw Football Club. Alan also won the the Service to Sport award presented by the Scottish Association of Local Sports Council for his commitment to the club as a player, manager and committee member.

Female winner was Anthea Drysdale from Ayton for her work with Riding for the Disabled in Berwickshire.

Special achievement awards were also presented to the following: Garry Pearson, Duns (British Junior Rally Champion), Duns Football Club, Patricia MacDonald, Duns (Scottish angling internationalist), Lewis Paulin, Eyemouth (Scottish boxing champion), Joyce Mark, Eyemouth (European Sprint Triathlon Supervet champion), Rory Williams, Chirnside (winner of the Great North Run and Great Edinburgh BUPA Run), Scott Wilson, Eyemouth (England under 18 rugby internationalist) and Team Berwickshire netball coaches Terry Maceachen, Mandy Lunn and Karen McKinlay.