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First Minister accepts Aberdeen Uni Shinty Club Patron Role

Aberdeen University Shinty Club have received a belated 150th Birthday with the First Minister, Alex Salmond, agreeing to become the club’s patron. The club who celebrated their 150th anniversary on 9th November are the oldest club with a surviving constitution.

Honorary President Steven MacKenzie explained that the club were privileged to have had the First Minister attend their 150th celebrations at the Kings College Playing Fields, Aberdeen, on 30th July this year. The highlight of the celebrations was the Aberdein Considine Sutherland Cup Final between Kingussie and Kyles Athletic for the Scottish Junior Championship. This was the first live game of shinty that the First Minister had attended and he enjoyed the occasion that much that he generously donated an auction prize for the club’s fund-raising dinner, ceilidh and auction held later the same day.

Steven has also authored a book “Keeping the Camanachd Flag Flying: 150 Years of Aberdeen University Shinty Club” to mark the club’s 150th year. During his research he discovered that the position of Patron was detailed in the original Constitution but the name of the individual elected was not recorded. It therefore seemed fitting to fill this 150 year old gap by offering this position to the First Minister in recognition of his generosity. However, it is also appropriate because the First Minister represents the North East constituency of Gordon at Holyrood, and previously Banff and Buchan at Westminster. Steven explained that almost all the founding members that he could identify hailed from the North East, with three being born in Banff alone! He added that the club were delighted that the First Minister had accepted their offer and joked that he had asked the First Minister to represent the club should they reach a final … although there wasn’t much chance of this any time soon!

First Minister Alex Salmond said; “It is an honour to have been invited to become the Patron of the Aberdeen University Shinty Club. I attended my very first shinty game this summer when, as part of the club’s 150 year anniversary celebrations, I was invited to present the Sutherland Cup trophy to Kingussie who defeated Kyles Athletic in the final. I was very impressed with the high level of skill and passion of players on both teams. Shinty is certainly not a game for the fainthearted and I will be more than happy to watch the club’s progress next season from the sidelines and not have to pick up a caman myself!”

Archie Robertson, Camanachd Association President, added; “The Camanachd Association is delighted that the First Minister has agreed to become a Patron of Aberdeen University Shinty Club. To have him attend the Aberdein Considine Sutherland Cup Final in Aberdeen back in July was great for our sport. He clearly enjoyed the occasion, contributing greatly to the success of the day and it is good news for shinty that the First Minister is now accepting this honour.”

Season 2011 has been a tremendously successful season for Aberdeen University Shinty Club. Not only did they take a shinty final to Aberdeen for the first time and publish a book recording their history but they held a “Come and Try Shinty Festival” for Aberdeen school kids, took part in the Tartan Day parade down Union Street and raised funds with their ceilidh and auction at the city’s Beach Ballroom. On field the club won Marine Harvest North Division 3 without losing a game and enjoyed considerable success at the annual Marine Harvest Awards. Stuart Cameron, a native of Cuminestown who had never played the game until he went to university, won the North Division 3 Player of the Year award. Coaches Terry Stebbings and Kenny MacLeod jointly lifted the North Division 3 Coach of the Year award and Steven MacKenzie won the Paterson Salver for the Volunteer of the Year award. To round off a fantastic year Aberdeen City Council hosted a Civic Reception in recognition of the Club’s achievements on 4th November 2011.

PHOTO: First Minister with members of Aberdeen University Shinty Club

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