Fort William Shinty Club makes history with appointment of national scheme’s first paid employee

Willie MacDonald of Fort William Shinty Club. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba,photos NO F14 Willie MacDonald Fort Shinty 03
Willie MacDonald, pictured, becomes the Fort William Shinty Club's new development officer thanks to funding through a national scheme. NO F14 willie maccdonald

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In a ground-breaking move, Fort William Shinty Club has appointed the former Scotland international and current Camanachd Association youth director Willie MacDonald as its paid club development officer.

A delighted Fort William chairman Duncan MacPhee said: ‘We are very grateful to sportscotland, Sandy Slater, (business consultant, Stirling) and Ronald Ross
and Graham Cormack, (Camanachd Association), for all their help.

‘The plan is to create a club structure and ethos which will endure well beyond the three years and develop and grow our current membership both playing and non-playing.

‘The journey started with the club achieving the Camanachd Association Gold Level Clubmark Accreditation and we would encourage all clubs to take that route for the long-term benefits it brings and as a platform for funding appointments such as this.’

The three-year appointment, the first of its kind, was made possible through support from sportscotland Direct Club Investment funding which will see the money matched by the club and its sponsors to put in place this post.

The aim of the post will be to boost the youth and family membership, increase the club’s support for the Lochaber Memories project group and create an opportunity for young people with a disability in Lochaber to take up shinty.

Garry Reid, of sportscotland, highlighted that Direct Club Investment was a key component of the body’s commitment towards club development and added: ‘It is great to see Fort William Shinty Club become the first shinty club to receive this investment and we hope that they can go from strength to strength through this funding.’

Ronald Ross, CA regional development manager, said: ‘We at the Camanachd Association are delighted for Fort William and it is testament to their hard work not just on the pitch, but off of it, that they were able to secure this funding.

‘We are sure that Willie MacDonald, who knows both the sport and the area inside out, will be an effective appointment in driving the popularity of our sport in Fort William.’

Mr MacDonald said: ‘First and foremost my thanks go to Fort William Shinty Club for this excellent opportunity.

‘I have been involved with youth shinty in the town for many years and it is exciting to formalise this step and begin a journey which will increase opportunities for all in the area.

‘I know that the Camanachd Association will always be on hand to ensure that I am supported in this role and I can’t wait to get started.’