East Lothian sporting legends immortalised on Wall of Honour
FOUR pillars of sport in East Lothian have been recognised on a Wall of Honour in the new Meadowbank Sports Centre.
Christine Black, Betty Steedman-Davidson, Yvonne Murray and Ron Pearman all feature in the new multi-million-pound sports complex.
The £47 million centre is on the site of the original Meadowbank, which previously hosted the Commonwealth Games and closed in December 2017.
Now, more than 45 names from a variety of sports have been included on the Wall of Honour, celebrating the sporting history of the venue.
Mrs Black, who was East Lothian’s badminton development for nearly two decades before stepping down in the summer of 2018, was delighted by the recognition.
She said: “Funnily enough, I used to say I was in with the bricks at Meadowbank!
“Even back in 1970 at the Commonwealth Games, I was about 15 or 16 and I was asked to have a match or train with the Scottish team selected in the arena.
“This was prior to the Games and then I obviously competed there in the 1986 Games. I have trained there really all my life and played all my matches there.”
Mrs Black, who was previously president of BADMINTONscotland, has enjoyed success in the sport for more than 40 years.
She represented Scotland more than 50 times and won a mixed doubles bronze medal alongside Billy Gilliland at the 1986 Commonwealth Games.
She was also Scotland’s badminton team manager at four Commonwealth Games and was awarded a British Empire Medal for her services to the sport in 2015.
The 68-year-old, who lives in Edinburgh, is still a key figure in the sport, training at Meadowmill and Haddington’s Aubigny Sports Centre, and recently won three medals at the European Masters in Slovenia.
Meanwhile, Mrs Steedman-Davidson played a key role in athletics in Musselburgh along with her husband Ian.
The athletics club took to social media last year to mark her death and said: “Musselburgh & District AC were very sad to learn that Betty Davidson passed away on September 10, 2021, after a short illness.
“Betty and her first husband, Ian Steedman, were pioneers of athletics in Musselburgh when they established the Lewisvale Spartans in 1956.
“The club was relaunched in 1999, undergoing various name changes before becoming Musselburgh & District Athletic Club. Betty remained a strong supporter of the club throughout her life.”
Meanwhile, Yvonne Murray, who grew up in Musselburgh and attended the town’s secondary school, would go on to represent both Scotland and Great Britain on the athletics track.
She twice won gold in the 3,000m at the World Cup, as well as winning gold in the event at the World Indoor Championships, European Indoor Championships and European Championships.
She also won gold in the 10,000m in the 1994 Commonwealth Games, eight years after winning bronze in the 3,000m at the Edinburgh Commonwealth Games.
She said: “I was delighted and honoured to hear that my name was to be included on the Wall of Honour at the new Meadowbank Sports Centre, alongside such distinguished company.
“My first training session at Meadowbank was in 1979 and it was to be my training base up until 1987.
“I also competed at the venue from 1979 up till the Scottish Championships in 1997, where I signed off with a victory in the 1,500m.
“I experienced both extremes of Meadowbank – on quiet days, training on my own when it was cold, wet and dark, and competing in front of a capacity stadium of 15,000-plus spectators at top-class athletics grand prix meetings and the Commonwealth Games of 1986.
“I also remember watching Allan Wells train there at his peak and learned by watching his warm-up, how he trained and conducted himself.
“I would always be willing to learn from other athletes and coaches there at the time and throughout my career.
“Meadowbank holds many happy memories for me and I still hold the Commonwealth 2,000m record that I set there in 1994! Hopefully, Meadowbank will produce many more successful athletes in the future.”
Squash stalwart Mr Pearman is also recognised on the wall.
He started playing the sport in 1976 and started coaching at the Tyne Squash Club in Haddington seven years later.
The Haddington resident was president of Scottish Squash for four years between 2009 and 2013 and his grandsons, Dylan and Jamie Pearman, have represented Scotland in the sport.
He said: “I used to live in Somerset. I had never heard of squash and played badminton for the local teams.
“I went to Peterhead to work on the power station and some of the commissioning engineers played squash. I went along to the local sports centre and was introduced to the game.”