THE 'lovely legacy' of one of Scotland’s most famed athletes will be celebrated on the Borders Book Festival stage this summer.

In line with the Olympics returning to Paris in July, Borders Book Festival (BBF) is holding a celebratory event about Olympian Eric Liddell.

It coincides with the 100th anniversary of his Olympic gold win at the 1924 Paris games.

As part of the Eric Liddell 100 project, Liddell’s biographer Sally Magnusson (The Flying Scotsman: The Eric Liddell Story) will be joined by his niece Sue Caton, Olympian Allan Wells, and fellow Olympian Eric Liddell 100 ambassador Eilidh Doyle to discuss the Flying Scotsman’s life.

Liddell was born to Scottish parents – his mother came from Paxton – in China and returned to Scotland with his family while they were on furlough from their missionary work.

His story was immortalised in the 1981 classic Chariots of Fire, which when adapted for the stage starred Borders actor Jack Lowden as Liddell.

The film showed Liddell’s strong faith, as he chose not to take part in the 1924 100m as the race was held on a Sunday, he instead competed in the 400m and won gold.

While Liddell’s life as an athlete and Olympic gold medallist is well documented, his time as a missionary in China isn’t as well known.

Ms Caton said: “He’s got a lovely legacy that people should know about.

“He lived an unusual life and he was a very unusual and extraordinary person.

“He was a winning athlete in more ways than one, and he just turned his back on that because his mission in life was to go back to China.

“The last part of his life he was an outreach missionary in the north of China, he had some hair-raising things that went on because it was when the Japanese had captured that part of China.

“He thought everybody was equal, he wanted to help anybody that needed help.

“I think we need to learn a little bit from that today.”

Liddell’s legacy has been lasting.

At the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, Allan Wells won the gold medal for the 100m – the race Liddell had intended to compete in in 1924.

After his win, Wells was asked by reporters if his win was dedicated to Harold Abrahams – who won the 100m gold in 1924 and was also a lead character in Chariots of Fire.

In response Wells told them: “If anything I did it for Eric Liddell”.

He added: “Eric was quite prominent at that point.

“Something strange happened to me, there was a second hand book sale at Meadowbank one night, it was certainly before I won the Olympic gold medal, and I thought I would go in and see what was going on.

“I went into a box and I saw this little booklet, put my hand in to get it out and there it was, it was Eric Liddell.”

Also joining the book festival event will be fellow Olympian and Eric Liddell 100 ambassador Eilidh Doyle.

She said: "Knowing now more about the whole life that he lived and the impact that he had – not just in sport but all his charity work and the values that he had – I just thought it would be great to be involved in that.

"My past, obviously I'm an athlete, but I was also a teacher as well and knowing that they [Eric Liddell 100] were going to share this story in schools, I just thought it was a really nice thing to be involved in."

Liddell’s story was one the BBF knew it wanted to tell, especially with the athlete and missionary’s connection to the Borders.

Alistair Moffat, founder of the BBF, said: “When I found out that Eric Liddell’s mother was from the Borders, I knew that we just had to have an event at this year’s Borders Book Festival, 100 years on from Liddell’s 100m Olympic win, and in a year when the Olympics return to Paris, where Liddell earned his medal in 1924.

“I mean, who could resist that story.”

The Eric Liddell 100 event in the Harmony Marquee will take place on Saturday, June 15, at 2pm.

For more information and book tickets for this centenary event, visit the Borders Book Festival website.