New youth rugby charitable trust, the The George Barrie Foundation, launched to mark Highland Rugby Club's 100th anniversary
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A father who became a colossus of Highland rugby over six decades is to be remembered in the name of a new charitable trust led by his son.
Launched as part of the Canal Park club’s centenary year celebrations, The George Barrie Foundation will support the growth and participation of young talent in rugby throughout the Highlands.
Mr Barrie, for over 60 years, was a servant of the club as player and captain in the 1950s, and fixture and club secretary through the 1960s, 70s and 80s, as well as referee and honorary president before his passing in 2012.
A great champion of youth rugby, he devoted time, effort and his own resources towards encouraging youngsters to take up the sport and stay involved.
The esteemed rugby reporter Norman Mair once wrote: “George used his accountancy business as a front for his rugby activities”. He was also influential in bringing many other members of the business community behind Highland rugby.
Marking 10 years since his death, the new foundation will work across the club’s catchment area as a fund-raising vehicle with a particular emphasis on nurturing talent in less-traditional rugby areas and where finance may be a barrier to them taking part.
George’s son Alan, a former Highland scrum-half, will be chairman, leading an experienced group of trustees.
He said: “Growing up, our home was like rugby central. When Nairn MacEwan was doing so much in coaching and captaining Highland, my father was a driving force off the field.
“He would have been delighted with the success Highland have enjoyed at all levels in recent years. He always believed that the future of the club lay in its youth.
“Highland has a clear community focus and we hope to support its ambition to get more youngsters involved in the game. If they have half as much fun as we have had over the years,it will all be worthwhile.”
Trustees will work closely with Highland RFC, schools and rugby development officers to identify boys and girls of all ages who require support to compete in playing rugby, such as travel and kit costs.
Income generating activities will range from local and national commercial sponsorship and donations to fundraising through private donations and specific events.
Over £20,000 has already been pledged,, giving the new charity a flying start.