SEVEN teams, 70 veteran players and a whole host of volunteers and spectators were treated to a day of fantastic football and a home win in a Walking Football Tournament organised in the Galashiels sunshine.

Teams from Dunfermline, Musselburgh, Tweedvale, Dunbar and two sides from Galashiels were joined by a squad of far-travelled walking footballers from Herne Bay – a team from near Margate on the north coast of Kent – to compete for the Hugh Nicolson Memorial Trophy.

The trophy was named after a popular member of the Gala Fairydean Rovers Walking Football squad who passed away in the spring of 2023. The decision was taken to rename the Gala club’s annual walking football tournament in Hugh’s honour.

After a series of competitive games in a league format, Herne Bay qualified for the final of the tournament after topping the table with the Gala Fairydean Rovers (A) side finishing in the runner-up position.

The teams played each other in a close-fought final that needed to be decided from the spot following a 1-1 draw.

The home goalkeeper, Craig Douglas, saved the final penalty in a dramatic shootout to ensure the trophy would stay at Netherdale.

In an emotional moment, Hugh Nicolson’s wife, Margaret-Ann, presented the cup to Ian Fraser from the Gala side.

The chair of the Gala Fairydean Rovers Community Trust, Graeme McIver, said: “We were honoured to be joined today by Margaret-Ann and other members of Hugh’s family. Hugh was an incredibly popular member of our squad, we named the trophy in his honour to recognise that.

"Hugh was always funny, mischievous and relentless in his good-humoured mocking of our collective failings as footballers. He was great company. Hugh summed up what is so great about walking football for those of us approaching the autumn of our years.

"Whilst the playing of the game helps us keep fit, active and in love with football, it is the company and camaraderie of our fellow players that makes our sessions a joy and provides the desire to return for more.”

Gordon Smith, the chair of walking football at Gala Fairydean Rovers, added: "It was very moving for both club and family to see this tournament played out in Hugh’s memory. It was an emotional moment when Hugh’s wife, presented the trophy to GFRFC.

"It was really a wonderful team effort through from planning to delivery on the day. All in the club are surely proud to receive all the positive feedback from our guests. The outcome on the park is the cherry on the cake.”