Five hundred rugby fanatics young and old packed a showpiece Glasgow celebration of West of Scotland’s 150 glorious years.
It was seen as the ultimate get-together for a community which includes people who haven’t worn the yellow-and-red hooped strip for decades – and others who are virtual newcomers.
The gala dinner in Glasgow’s Hilton Hotel was an outstanding success, evidently matching the quality of the centenary event in 1965, with some former players travelling from the other side of the world to be there.
Club president Allan Snedden said: “There were people there from places like Melbourne, with the simple explanation that ‘I just had to be here.”
“It wasn’t until you saw people who were players maybe 50 years ago talking about their experience that it really came home to me that this club has been a very important part of some people’s lives.”
Hosted by John Beattie and with speakers Hugh Barrow and Al Kellock, guests were treated to a whistle-stop tour through the complex and inspiring story of West of Scotland’s fascinating history – from its original base in Victorian era Partick to its permanent home in Milngavie.
Allan Snedden said: “It took an occasion like this to bring together such a diaspora of West of Scotland people, and from that point of view was an excellent occasion – one many who were there will remember as being really special.”
The history of the club in many ways doubles as a history of the game in Scotland, with the 20-a-side teams of the 1860s gradually morphing into modern rugby.
“It is good, too, that our 150th is happening at a time when new things are happening at the club all the time,” said Mr Snedden – “for example we didn’t have women’s rugby 15 years ago.”