THE Scottish Open Grand Prix reached a rousing climax on Sunday as BADMINTONscotland celebrated 25 years of Royal Patronage by His Royal Highness, The Earl of Wessex.
Before the finals His Royal Highness was honoured by the Badminton World Federation when he was awarded the President’s Medal by BWF President Poul-Erik Hoyer. He is only the second recipient of the BWF’s highest individual honour, awarded to a person or persons who have contributed significantly to badminton.
Former BWF Council member Torsten Berg read the citation as follows:
Twenty-five years ago, the Earl of Wessex agreed to be Patron of BADMINTONscotland.
His Royal Highness has appeared at virtually every major event and has visited on many other occasions. The first of these visits was at the Scottish Open at Meadowbank in 1990. Most recently, he showed support for Scotland's team at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
Badminton World Federation is delighted that one of its committed founder members, BADMINTONscotland, has benefited enormously from such distinguished Royal patronage.
We value this association and we hope His Royal Highness will continue to support badminton in Scotland for many years to come. In recognition of His Royal Highness' contribution to badminton, I would like to invite Poul-Erik Hoyer to bestow upon him the President's Medal, our highest honour.
In recognising Prince Edward’s contribution Hoyer paid his own tribute, saying: "His Royal Highness has contributed greatly to the growth of badminton in Scotland over the last 25 years and the President's Medal is in appreciation of all that he has done for our sport."
BADMINTONscotland showed its own appreciation by hosting a celebration dinner at Glasgow’s Hotel Du Vin after the finals.
Among the guests attending were Poul-Erik and Torsten as well as current Vice President of the IOC and President of WADA and former BADMINTONscotland and BWF President Sir Craig Reedie CBE
Former BADMINTONscotland President and Badminton Europe Director For Finances Ritchie Campbell and Badminton Europe Board Member Lawrence Chew as well as leading dignitaries from key partners Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Life, EventScotland and Yonex were also in attendance, and Scotland players Kirsty Gilmour, Robert Blair and Adam Hall joined Poul-Erik, Sir Craig and Lady Reedie at the Royal table during dinner.
BADMINTONscotland President Dan Travers paid further tribute to the loyal and dedicated support of His Royal Highness, who in response modestly played down his role of Patron by stating he was merely “leader of the Supporters Club!”
BADMINTONscotland Chief Executive Anne Smillie said:
"The value of Royal Patronage is incalculable. It has played a very significant role in attaining for BADMINTONscotland the prestige it currently enjoys both at home and around the world. The degree of His Royal Highness’s involvement in and the depth of his knowledge of our sport is a source of great pride to us and the envy of many other organisations.
"I would like, on behalf of BADMINTONscotland, to congratulate His Royal Highness on his 25 years of unstinting service, to offer our deep gratitude and appreciation for his continuing support, and to express the sincere hope that we may have his support for many years to come."
That would include welcoming His Royal Highness back to Glasgow, especially for the TOTAL BWF Badminton World Championships to be staged at the Emirates Arena from August 21-27 in 2017.