Real Lives: Games chieftain role is big surprise for Dave

Dave McDougall is thrilled with his elevation to chieftain
Dave McDougall is thrilled with his elevation to chieftain
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A DISTINGUISHED West Lothian businessman has been named the 41st West Lothian Highland Games chieftain.

West Lothian Chamber of Commerce chief executive Dave McDougall, 64, has been given the prestigious role at the games, which take place in Bathgate’s Meadow Park on Saturday, May 26.

The entrepreneur and former economics lecturer first moved his Wisdom IT business to West Lothian in 1994, and has played a role in local enterprise ever since.

He became chief executive of the West Lothian Chamber of Commerce in 2004, supporting local companies in their attempt to develop and flourish.

He said: “It’s a real honour to be asked to be Chieftain of West Lothian Highland Games and I’m really looking forward to the big day on May 26.

“I’ve got myself a new kilt especially for the occasion – bought from a West Lothian company, of course.

“It was a real bolt out of the blue when I was approached, but I’m delighted and excited to be taking on the role. I’ve been a regular at the games for a number of years now, and know what a great event it is, especially when we get the sunshine it deserves.

“West Lothian Highland Games is a real community day, attracting people of all ages from all over West Lothian and further afield.

“I know a lot of local businesses already support the games, and I see a lot of scope to get even more involved in the future.”

The games as they are known today began on the last Saturday in May of 1972 with a pipe band contest. After the contest, Alex Samuel, piper major of Torphichen and Bathgate Pipe Band and secretary of the Lothian and Borders Branch of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, along with others set up an organising committee consisting of president Willie Bishop and secretary Jim Walker.

In 1973, a Highland dancing competition, solo piping contest and heavy athletics events were started alongside the pipe band contest and so the Bathgate Highland Games were born.

From humble beginnings the games grew to become the Bathgate and West Lothian Highland Games and in 2009 the games were renamed the West Lothian Highland Games to reflect the fact that visitors came from all over West Lothian.

Games president Matt Purdie said: “We are pleased to welcome Dave McDougall as our 41st chieftain. Dave has been a keen supporter of the games for many years, and played a key role in helping us bring the high profile British Pipe Band Championships to West Lothian in 2013.

“His contribution to West Lothian life through his work with the Chamber of Commerce makes him a very worthy chieftain, and will help strengthen the Highland games’ strong links with local business even further.”