On 21 November, His Royal Highness, The Earl of Wessex, was saluted for 25 years of royal patronage to BADMINTONscotland as he received the BWF President’s Medal to a rousing ovation.
Making the presentation before the start of the finals of the Scottish Open Grand Prix in Glasgow, BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer noted: “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.”
A citation tracing the relationship between the Earl of Wessex and BADMINTONscotland, stated that 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,” the citation continued.
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.”
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!”
The Earl of Wessex is only the third recipient of the BWF’s highest individual honour, awarded to a person or persons who have contributed significantly to badminton.
Text by Gayle Alleyne l Photos by Mark Phelan