Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Edinburgh Live
Edinburgh Live
Marie Sharp

Youth games renamed in tribute to former East Lothian council leader

Former East Lothian Council leader Willie Innes would have been "chuffed" by the decision to rename an annual competition after him, the county's provost has said.

The Labour politician died in October after a long battle with cancer.

Councillors today voted unanimously to change the name of the East Lothian Youth Games to the Willie Innes Youth Games.

READ MORE: East Lothian councillors pay tribute to late leader Willie Innes as a 'giant' and a gentleman

They also agreed to rename the council's Sports Awards Scheme which provides financial assistance to people supporting them to prepare, compete, travel, receive qualifications and provide access to facilities, as a tribute to Mr Innes.

Provost John McMillan said Mr Innes "would be chuffed" by the honour although colleagues admitted he may have "cringed" at the attention.

Eamon John, service manager for sport, countryside and leisure for East Lothian Council, said the family of Mr Innes had been honoured by the proposed name change.

He told a virtual meeting of the council today: "The family are aware of the recognition and they said they are happy and honoured although they said "dad would probably cringe."

"They said 'thank you so much for thinking about it and thinking about us'."

Councillors were reminded of Mr Innes' involvement in driving the local authority's sports policies over the decades.

A report to members said: "In preparation for the formation of the new East Lothian Council in 1996 and during the shadow year of 1995, Willie Innes, a then East Lothian district councillor, along with key colleagues, put the wheels in motion to be the first council in Scotland of the new 32 unitary authorities to put a sports development strategy in place.

“The strategy was seen and commented on by the then Scottish Office as a “highly visionary document.”

“The foundations provided in Willie’s vision and commitment a generation ago have, and continue to make, a difference today.

“A key part of the strategy was on education, training and youth sport, and it is with this and these themes in mind that we propose to recognise and honour Willie Innes’s legacy.”

The East Lothian Youth Games started in 2003 and are held at Meadowmill, Tranent. S1 and S2 pupils from all six county secondary schools take part in a range of sports including football, golf, badminton, hockey, Rugby 7s and basketball.

Mr Innes, from Prestonpans, was one of the local authority’s longest serving councillors, representing his home ward since 1988.

He was appointed leader of the Labour group in 2007, becoming council leader in 2012.

Councillor Norman Hampshire who took over the leadership role from his long-term colleague recalled Mr Innes's commitment to sport and young people.

He said: "Willie was passionate about improving sports facilities as well. He said there was no point encouraging youngsters to take part if they had to go to wooden sheds and that is what we have been doing, delivering quality facilities.

"This recognition is well deserved because he is the man who delivered quality sport in East Lothian."

The decision to rename the event was given cross party support.

Councillor Fiona Dugdale said: "By naming the youth games in Willie's name his dreams and aspirations will continue on for generations."

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.