William (Willie / Billy) Robertson 28th October 1947 – 14th June 2019
It is with deep regret and great sadness that Falkirk Victoria Harriers advise of the passing of legendary throws coach Willie Robertson at his Torphicen home on Friday 14th June. Willie was a coach and member of Falkirk Victoria Harriers for over 30 years having enjoyed a successful athletics competitive career with Edinburgh AC, Field Events club and Thames Valley Harriers which saw him win three Scottish Championship medals in his specialist hammer event. Bronze medals in both 1971 and 1973, were followed with the Silver medal in 1974, the year Willie also achieved his personal best throw in the hammer with 57 metres and 30 centimetres which ranked him 5th on that year’s best performance list and still ranks Willie in the Scottish top 30 all-time list of hammer throwers.
1974 was a fantastic year for Willie. As well his hammer achievements, it started with the first of two Commonwealth Games appearances for Scotland in wrestling at the Christchurch games in New Zealand. Willie also wrestled for Scotland in the 1986 Edinburgh games.
A generous, larger than life character who loved to recall stories of events and trips, Willie remained modest about his own achievements and tight lipped about his athletic successes. Appearing in the Scottish ranking lists for hammer throwing most years from 1969 until 2008 with a brief gap in the late 1970’s into early 80’s during which time Willie was a regular on the Highland Games circuit. At Crieff in 1976 Willie finished 3rd in the Scottish Heavyweight Championship. His personal bests in Games being 120 feet in the hammer, 48 feet in the Shot and 14 feet in the 56lb Over the Bar. For many years Willie also officiated at the Games as well as track and field meetings. When Scottish Athletics introduced its Celtic Cup competition which was televised live by BBC Scotland, Willie was one of the referee’s in the Tossing the Caber competition.
While Willie’s main competitive days pre-date his time with Falkirk Victoria Harriers his contribution and influence on the club are immense. Coaching all heavy throws disciplines and highland games heavy events to a select band he thought could handle it, Willie transformed the club from being endurance based who had a few willing volunteers filling in at Hammer, Discus and Shot in league matches to arguably at one time the country’s hot bed of young talent in these events, but especially his beloved hammer. There are numerous Schools, District and National champions who benefited from Willie’s knowledge, enthusiasm and unique approach in their early career. A select few include –
· Myra Perkins – Scottish Commonwealth Games representative in hammer, Glasgow 2014; GB & Northern Ireland competitor IAAF World Junior Championships Moncton, Canada 2010; GB & Northern Ireland competitor IAAF World Youth Championships Bressanone, Italy 2009
· Ciaran Wright – Scottish Senior Internationalist in hammer, UK ranked number 1 in hammer Under 15 2011, Under 17 2013 and UK number 2 in Discus same year, UK number 2 at Under 23 in Shot 2018; Scottish number 1 in Hammer & Shot Under 23 2018 and 2nd in Discus, UK ranked 4th in Hammer Under 23 2018
· Kyle Randalls – Scottish Schools Hammer and Discus champion, serial winner on Highland Games circuit and Scottish Junior (Under 26) Highland Games Record holder 22lb Shot Putt, 16lb Hammer, 22lb Hammer, 28lb for distance, 56lb for distance and also 56lb Over the Bar
· Fraser Ewen - Scottish Schools Hammer Champion (1995), Scottish Junior/ U25's Heavies Champion (2004), Scottish Amateur Heavies Champion (2004), Florida Heavies Champion (2011), Scottish U-20's Light Hammer Record Holder, Florida Heavy Hammer Record Holder.
· Edmond Reid – Scottish Champion Under 17 hammer and Shot 2010, ranked 5th in UK at Hammer under 17 in 2010; Scottish Schools champion and internationalist; ranked 8th in UK AT Hammer in Under 15 age group 2008
· Rhianydd Parry – Scottish Under 20 Discuss champion 2009, Scottish and Schools internationalist
As well as his daughter Hazel who also appears in the Scottish Rankings for Hammer, Discus and Shot Putt.
Willie last competed in the Scottish Athletics League in 2011 but remained a regular at events throughout the country guiding his young athletes and freely giving his time and knowledge to anyone who asked.
He will be sorely missed throughout the athletics community in general, throws community in particular and by all in Falkirk Victoria Harriers past and present especially those who worked with Willie.
Our thoughts at this time are with his wife Anglea, son Alan and daughter Hazel as well as wider family and friends. The funeral arrangements are, Tuesday 25th June 2pm at Livingston Crematorium. We would like to thank Andy Ronald and all the others who helped with this fine tribute.