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Jacaranda trophy for Pitlochery Highland Games

Norman Gray in his workshop at Gulmarrad with some of his woodworking handiwork.
Norman Gray in his workshop at Gulmarrad with some of his woodworking handiwork. Adam Hourigan

IT'S not often your name is the first engraved on a trophy, and for Norman Gray, it was a great honour.

In 1991, Mr Gray competed in the De'll Tak the Hind Most challenge in the Pitlochry Highland Games while living in Markinch, Fife and was the first person to be awarded the cup.

But when the Townsend resident discovered the cup was not returned three years ago, he knew he had to do something.

"We know who has (the cup), he's active on Facebook, but he just doesn't respond to messages," Mr Gray said.

"I raced 30 years ago, we would never have done that. If we got a cup, we polished it, it was spick and span when we brought it back.

"It cost quite a lot of money for the committee to provide that, to find a sponsor to give it and it just disappears."

After trying to track it down without luck, Mr Gray decided he'd make a new trophy and donate it to the highland games.

"I made two, one out of Jacaranda and one out of red gum because I thought I'd give them a choice," he said.

"I gave whatever one they didn't choose to a local bike shop to do what they like."

The Pitlochery Highland Games picked the Jacaranda and when Mr Gray travelled to Scotland to visit his sick mother, he took the trophy with him and delivered it to the organisers.

"It got presented this weekend past, for the first time," he said.

Mr Gray was an avid racer when he was younger, beginning his career at 14.

"I didn't race every year, I started my job... but then I got fed up with the job and went back to racing. My first race back was when I met my wife Janet, and she was from Maclean," he said.

"She was across for a highland dancing trip, and going around the highland games I met her and decided that night that I was going to Australia."

Five months later, Mr Gray was in Australia.

The two moved back to Scotland for a year, and Mr Gray had a few wins while racing in 1990, but the year he won the De'll Tak the Hind Most challenge was his finest year of racing.

"I came second in Scotland, overall, I missed it by a few points," he said.

BIG BELL: Norman Gray with the trophy he carved out of jacaranda timber.
BIG BELL: Norman Gray with the trophy he carved out of jacaranda timber. Contributed


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