THE driving force behind the opening of Scotland’s National Waterski Centre in Townhill has been recognised by British Waterski and Wakeboard (BWSW).

Alan Murray, Waterski and Wakeboard Scotland’s chief operating officer, was recognised for his dedication to the sport over nearly five decades by being made an honorary member of the governing body.

The 71-year-old, who began water skiing in 1972, has worked tirelessly to create and improve pathways into the sport – developing two clubs in Perth – before embarking on an eight-year crusade to establish Scotland’s National Waterski Centre.

The facility at Townhill Loch, which was opened in 1993 by Prince Edward, has gone from strength to strength and received an £180,000 revamp in August 2016 to meet the needs of increased interest in watersport.

Alan has since gone on to work within World, European and UK bodies in addition to coaching, and become involved within the disabled section of the sport.

Of the campaign to build the national training site, he said: “It was eight years of my own personal time going to meetings and trying to make progress on top of my day-to-day work.

“It was a tough time but I knew the ultimate goal was worth going for. It was a massive project; it cost £1.2 million, which was a massive amount 26 years ago, so everyone involved deserves credit – sportscotland, the National Lottery and government.

“To be honest, the sport would not be near the position it is in just now without the national training site. From there, we run coaching courses, driving courses and education courses.

“It’s a brilliant facility; we have everything we need there as a sport to be sustainable and have good governance.

“We’re in a good place at the moment, although we can always do more. There was always a buzz around the project because it was something a bit different.”

On his award, Alan added: “The award is great but, if I can get a bit more exposure for the sport, that’s what I’m about.

“I find the whole experience humbling; I’m a great believer in doing the job right.

“I’ve just always done my best and to be rewarded for doing a job I really love is a great honour.”