Olympic legend Sir Chris Hoy today spoke of his joy at holding his premature baby son in his arms for the first time.
Sir Chris’ wife Sarra gave birth to son Callum last month, 11 weeks early, and since then the proud parents have had to travel to and from the hospital to see their baby.
Speaking as he was named Scotland’s national treasure alongside Falkirk sculpture the Kelpies for the 20th anniversary of the National Lottery today, the cycling star said he was “still in a little bit of shock” at becoming a father.
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He said: “We weren’t expecting Callum until nearer Christmas time and you know he’s doing really well considering how premature he was.
“He’s growing rapidly, getting stronger, fitter, healthier.
“It’s great fun just going to the hospital and getting to hold him and see him. It’ll be nice when we get him home.”
Chris added that they are still unsure when Callum will get to leave hospital, but were hopeful it would be around his due date which was close to Christmas.
He said: “If we could get him back for Christmas that would be an amazing Christmas present but at the moment we’re just trying not to think too far ahead.
“Just every day get a little bit stronger, a little bit heavier and hopefully see him home soon.”
The five-time Olympic gold medallist also spoke warmly of becoming a father for the first time.
Smiling, he said: “There’s nothing like that moment when you hold your baby for the first time and it’s a pretty stressful situation for it to happen in but you’re just trying to appreciate that moment.
“But because we didn’t know if it was going to be a boy or a girl, just finding out it’s a baby boy as well, it’s incredible.
“It’s a wonderful, wonderful feeling when you hold your baby boy in your arms.”
Chris was at the Kelpies in Falkirk today after both were chosen by members of the public as Scotland’s national treasures.
The poll to find Scotland’s favourite person and landmark was part of celebrations held by the National Lottery as it celebrates its 20th anniversary.
And while Sir Chris was keen to stress how important lottery funding was to his own career, he also admitted to buying a ticket on occasion himself, as well as selling them as a student.
He said: “I’ve bought many lottery tickets and I used to sell them as well.
“When I was still school then when I was at uni I worked at a Saturday job at weekends and holidays at a petrol station just when the lottery started out pretty much, and yeah I used to sell the tickets.
“The lottery, I’ve said it so many times, but it’s had the single biggest impact on my career and pretty much every single sportsman and woman in the last 20 years.
“I don’t think you could find a single athlete who’s performed at the highest level who hasn’t benefited in some way, be it through coaching, grants, facilities or whatever.
“I was just so lucky when I came on board at just the right time.
“So I left school, went to university, finished university and I was then able to go straight into competition and training.
“If I’d had no other support I would’ve then had to get a job, and with a job you wouldn’t have been able to train full time - it’s a catch 22 situation.
“It’s been the single most important thing to me to becoming an athlete.”
Sir Chris said he was also honoured to be named a national treasure, adding: “It’s a massive honour obviously, but quite bizarre really as well.
“It makes you feel quite old as well, but no, I’m very honoured and what an amazing place to be honoured with the iconic Kelpies.
“I’ve never been [to the Kelpies], I’ve driven past them before but never seen them in the flesh, it’s absolutely incredible.”
In Scotland over #2.6 billion has been awarded to arts, education, environment, health, heritage, sport and voluntary projects by the National Lottery.
The largest grant over the past 20 years has gone to Glasgow Science Centre at £36.2 million, while the smallest was £36 to Home-Start Orkney.
A total of 341 millionaires have been created in Scotland thanks to the lottery and 2,824 people have won prizes of more than £500,000.
And Dumfries has the highest concentration of winners in the UK - the area has a lottery millionaire for every 8,288 of the adult population.
Glasgow, meanwhile, houses the most lottery winners in Scotland at 87, while it also has the largest number of high tier winners at 697.
The Helix, home to the Kelpies, has received £25 million of National Lottery funding.
Designed by artist Andy Scott, the Kelpies were officially opened to the public in April of this year.