Season’s greetings from the sporting community – part 2 Fort William

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Fort William Football Club
The Fort William FC Under 14 Youth Team that played their first game on Claggan Park for many years in December. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos. NO_F51_FORT YOUTH U-14 TEAM

As 2021 draws to a close, the directors, committee, management and players of Fort William Football Club thank our many fans locally and further afield for their support again this year.

The club has gone through some significant changes over the past 12 months with a new board being appointed following the club’s annual general meeting in August. A new committee and a new manager also have been recently appointed.

Whilst everyone will be aware of the public effort to improve the pitch at Claggan Park and to get Highland league games back at home, there has also been considerable efforts made into improving the long-term viability of developing football locally from grassroots through to first team level and on developing Claggan Park to make it a sporting hub.

In December, Claggan Park hosted the second in its series of charity friendlies between Fort William and South Lochaber Thistle which was well attended by several hundred people.

It also played host to its first youth game in many years as the Under 14s youth development team took on Portree Football Club.

The short-term target of avoiding relegation has been set and new manager Shadab Iftikar has been given the full backing of the board to ensure this happens.

We wish everyone a great New Year and can’t wait to see Highland League games back at Claggan Park in the 2022-23 season. Oliver Stephen,  Director.

Lochaber Athletics Club Juniors
Lochaber Athletics Club's Maddison MacMillan in action. NO F37 Maddison
Lochaber Athletics Club Junior Maddison MacMillan in action at the open graded meeting at Queen’s Park in July. NO F37 Maddison

Our eight to 15-year-old athletes wish all readers and all sports clubs in Lochaber a successful year in 2022.

We have had a disrupted year but have enjoyed training.

Some of our athletes competed in open graded track and field meetings during the summer in Inverness and we have also competed in the north district cross country league and the district championships.

Next year we are joining the Grampian Athletics League, which is a track and field league, and are therefore looking for more youngsters to join us in running, throwing and jumping.

Lochaber Athletic Club was founded in 1951 so this is our 70th anniversary. We are hoping to piece together the history and milestones and also get information on some of the great Lochaber athletes from the past.

We remember with joy and with a sense of loss some of the heroes of the past.

We think of some of the local Ben Nevis race winners such as the late Brian Kearney and the late Eddie Campbell. More recently, Davie Rodgers and, of course, 10-times Ben winner Finlay Wild.

We are grateful for 70 years of fun and camaraderie with the club and we are looking forward to the future and to representing Lochaber wherever we compete.

Thanks for all the support from parents, relatives, friends and the community. Please cheer on Lochaber Athletics Club Juniors.

Lochaber Phoenix Boxing Club
Members of the Lochaber Phoenix Boxing Club had fun celebrating International Boxing Day. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos NO F36 Boxing Day 01
Members of Lochaber Phoenix Boxing Club had fun celebrating International Boxing Day in August. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos.
NO F36 Boxing Day 01

Like every other sports club working within Covid regulations, we had limited physical presence for much of 2021, although contact was never lost with our members through online training sessions and regular messages to check on how they were coping.

As restrictions eased, outdoor training started up on Caol foreshore and the gym car park, which saw numbers increasing gradually and a move back indoors as this was allowed.

We have now returned to an almost pre-Covid training timetable through well-attended junior and senior sessions with male and female participants.

Our first home show for two years took place in Caol Community Centre to a sell-out crowd and since then our boxers have fought in a novice championship in Inverurie, taking two silvers and a gold, as well as in the Highland Boxing Academy home show in Inverness where Farquhar MacRae headed the bill and took the winner’s trophy.

We will have several entrants in Boxing Scotland Championships in Motherwell over two weekends in February and our next home shows are planned for April and November 2022.

Before this, there is plenty of training for those taking part to build fitness and skills, as well as working with everyone at regular training sessions to encourage their interest not only in the sport, but in enjoying healthy and active lives.

Club expenses and travelling costs also have to be met, so fundraising is vital.

Our next event is a prize bingo night on February 18, in Caol Community Centre, so please give us your support. Iain Ferguson, chairman.