Despite all of the bad news about the spread of Covid-19 and the subsequent lock down that has led to the cancellation of most of this seasons track and field meetings, we at Victoria Park City of Glasgow should take some time out to celebrate a special anniversary.
Victoria Park AAC was founded 90 years ago on the 4th of April 1930 in the Unionist Rooms, Partick. The first committee meeting was held within Scotstoun Showgrounds and although the purpose of the Showgrounds has changed over the years and some of our neighbours have come and gone, the athletics club has been ever present.
Over those 90 years, the club has made a massive contribution to Scottish and British athletics. Many of our early successes are well documented and can be found on our website at this link. James L Logan summarised our history from 1930 till 1970 and rightly highlighted the 12 appearances our members made in Olympic, European and Commonwealth games. Since then our members have made a further 17 appearances in major games and the conveyor belt of talent shows no sign of slowing.
Last year was one of our best for many years and saw the club confirmed as the second highest ranked track and field club in Scotland. We were Champions of both the Scottish Women’s Athletic League, the Central and South of Scotland Athletic League and set 4 new Scottish records.
It was great to see the teams succeeding last year because, for most of our members, individual success at the level they dream of will always evade them. Some will have a long and rewarding career as an athlete and then as a coach, an official or another volunteering role within the club. Others will only stay a short while, but hopefully make friends for life and go on to live the active, healthy lifestyle we promote.
Our current membership stands at 720, but just think of the thousands of young men and women who have joined Victoria Park and subsequently Victoria Park City of Glasgow over the years and enjoyed the inclusivity, the sense of belonging, the pride of wearing the vest and meeting and training with great role models.
Our reach these days goes much further than our membership. Last year 400 children attended one of our week long training camps at Scotstoun, 200 children attended one of our eight week blocks of run, jump and throw sessions and our coaches provided about 40 hours of free coaching in local schools. Many of those children will have formed a lasting impression of how an athlete trains, competes and conducts themselves while training within a group led by cheerful and enthusiastic coaches.
Much has changed since the club was formed, but our members still dream of being the best in their school, of being the best in Scotland, of winning their first Scottish vest or being selected for a major games. These dreams have inspired them to join our club, motivated them to match or better their peers and driven them to be winners. That’ll never change.
Everyone connected to the club, whether you were a competing member, an occasional volunteer or someone who’s served on the committee for over 30 years, should be very proud of what you’ve all achieved.
Although the future appears to be very uncertain due to the current circumstances, I have no doubt that the club will endure as a result of the lasting legacy created by its members, past and present.
Like many of our members, I was at the 75th anniversary at the National Piping Centre in November 2005 and was privileged to meet several of our founding members. Sadly, they’re no longer with us.
While it’s no small achievement for the club to reach its 90th anniversary, the main event will be on Saturday the 6th of April 2030 when we can hopefully celebrate our 100th.