Chieftain named for first Forres Highland Games in three years


A FORMER leader of the Moray Council has been named leader of this year’s Forres Highland Games.

George Alexander said he was honored to be named this year’s leader. Photo: Daniel Forsyth

George Alexander (73) said he was delighted to be selected for the role as this year’s games return for the first time in three years on July 2.

He said: “It’s a real honor and I’m delighted to lead these games as they are very important after not being able to take place for the past two years.

“I believe it was only in wartime that the games didn’t happen, so it’s a real pleasure to bring them back after what everyone has been through since the start of the pandemic.

“Organizing an event like this is no small feat and the organizers who are all volunteers work so hard to bring a great event to Forres.

“I hope that over the past two years the local community and hopefully visitors to the city have really stepped up to support this wonderful day.”

George is well known locally for his time as a counsellor, teacher and farmer. He is also heavily involved in a number of charities and local groups, including the Forres Heritage Trust and the Forres Community Activities Association.

Despite his vast experience in different roles, George admits he has little experience competing in Highland Games events despite having ‘fleeting’ experience decades ago.

“I was about 18 and I was at an event in Echt in Aberdeenshire and decided to take part in Cumberland Wrestling,” George said.

“I have been drawn against the late Bill Anderson. Those familiar with the sport will understand that he is described as Scotland’s greatest heavyweight athlete at the Highland Games.

“Needless to say I didn’t win, we just treated it as a practice exercise.

“I have always thought that participation is more important than winning.”

The former Forres Academy teacher can however boast of having previous experience as a chef having been selected for the first Piping At Forres nine years ago.

“It was actually kind of fun,” George added, “We didn’t realize a chef was needed at Piping At Forres, so what shall we say, I was brought in to fill the role.

“However, it was also an honor, and given that Piping At Forres was a huge success, it’s a feather in my cap to say that I was its very first leader.”

Three years ago, the number of visitors attending the Games increased by 20%. This included tourists from Germany, Hong Kong, Spain, the United States, New Zealand, Ireland, France and Canada.

Mike Scott, Honorary Secretary of the Forres Highland Games, is hoping for a similar turnout this year with George as the leader.

He said, “The Board looks forward to the return of our annual event with renewed optimism and excitement.

“George had been unanimously chosen to be the leader of the 2020 games, but of course those were cancelled.

“George was chosen because over the years he has made a very valuable contribution as a volunteer to the success of our Games.

“Every year he is on the grounds of the Games with his sleeves rolled up, stuck helping us prepare for our event and cleaning up afterwards.

“We would also like to thank and congratulate George for all the volunteer work he has done for the Forres community through his involvement with the European Pipe Band Championships, the Forres Heritage Trust and Forres Mechanics to name a few. to name a few.”

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Jennifer R. Strohm