Calcutta Cup to make special appearance at Hawick Museum & World Premier of Bill McLaren competition winners commentary

The red carpet is being rolled out at Hawick Museum for a one-off appearance of the Calcutta Cup, and this will coincide with the world-premier-showing of the four winning entries in the Bill McLaren commentary competition.

There is a series of special events taking place on Friday May 24th, starting with a private viewing of the Calcutta cup by the four primary school winners of the Bill McLaren Commentary competition. The viewing will be followed by the first-ever public showing of the winning entries.

Following this there will be a series of presentations taking members of the Hawick Rugby Memories Club behind the scenes at the museum, where they can meet and question the team that created the highly successful Bill McLaren Centenary and Hawick RFC’s 150th anniversary exhibitions.

From 12 noon members of the public are welcome to come along and take selfies with the Cup and soak up the unique Borders rugby atmosphere before the cup returns to Murrayfield at 3pm.

Ross Cameron, chair of the Bill McLaren Foundation, said: “I wholly agreed with the conclusion of Andrew Cotter, the BBC broadcaster who judged the commentary competition, that the standards of entries was extremely high. Bill McLaren often talked about dancing in the streets of Hawick. When one of the aspiring commentators talked about Scottish fans boogying in the stand I knew that Bill McLaren’s legacy was assured”.

Historian Murray Watson, who helped curate both exhibitions, pointed out that the Calcutta Cup was the oldest trophy in international rugby. He added, “when we were putting the exhibition together we discovered an amazing coincidence. I knew from my father that he, together with Bill and a group of friends from Hawick High School went to Twickenham as teenagers to see Scotland win the Calcutta Cup in 1938. I mentioned this fact to Professor Richard Haynes from Stirling University with whom we are working to digitise the McLaren archive. Professor Haynes, who had written about the history of sport on the BBC, told me that this was the very first rugby match ever to be televised – and Bill was there making history”. A momento of the occasion made by Bill and a copy of the 1938 Radio Times are on display in the exhibition.

Throughout this special day both rugby exhibitions will remain open, without charge, to the general public.

The Bill McLaren Centenary Exhibition – commemorating the life and career of Hawick’s own ‘Voice of Rugby’ runs until 17th June. The Bill McLaren Centenary Exhibition – Live Borders

Hawick Rugby Football Club 150 Exhibition – exploring 150 years of this successful club is on until 30th November.  Hawick Rugby Football Club 150 Exhibition – Live Borders


The late Bette McLaren, widow of Bill, with the Calcutta Cup. Courtesy of May Sinclair