Edinburgh trio take on skydive to raise cash for Ken Buchanan statue

Maureen Taylor and Siobhan Dodds, staff at Diane's Pool Hall, Edinburgh pose with Ken Buchanan. Picture: Toby Williams
Maureen Taylor and Siobhan Dodds, staff at Diane's Pool Hall, Edinburgh pose with Ken Buchanan. Picture: Toby Williams
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THREE brave barmaids got to meet a boxing legend after they took on a charity skydive in his honour.

The trio from Diane’s Pool Hall in Haymarket set themselves the challenge in a bid to raise cash for the Ken Buchanan Foundation.

The charity was set up to raise £50,000 to erect a statue of legendary Edinburgh boxer Ken Buchanan outside the city’s Meadowbank 
stadium.

Now thanks to the efforts of Maureen Taylor, Siobhan Dodds and Lee McNair the Foundation is around £3000 closer to its target.

Yesterday the women met Buchanan – regarded by many as Scotland’s greatest boxer – as they handed over the cash raised from their jump.

Maureen, 44, came up with the idea after her boss, Diane McNair, said she wanted to do something to help make the statue a reality.

She said: “I said we’d do a parachute jump [although] I’ve never done one before.

“It was absolutely amazing. It was the best feeling in my life and I’m glad I’ve done it because it was for a really good cause.”

However Maureen admitted she was more than a little nervous before taking the leap, having never parachute jumped before.

She said: “It was a bit scary – I started shaking a bit and as there was no door on the plane you could see everything. When I got up there I didn’t want to do it but I thought I’ve got to. It was the best experience of my life.”

The fees for the challenge were stumped up by Diane, who runs the pool hall venue and is a close friend of the boxer.

Maureen added: “She’s amazed with the money we have raised doing this. I just can’t get over all the customers who have contributed.

“It’s great because he’s the tartan legend for Scotland. He’s just such an amazing man [and] deserves to get this statue built in Edinburgh for everything he’s done in his boxing career.

“It’s nice to pay him for everything he’s done to help people so it’s time for people to do something nice for him.

“Everyone is saying we are nutters for doing this but it’s for a good cause so people will remember him.”

Buchanan is the only living British fighter in the International Boxing Hall of Fame, which he was inducted into in 2000.

He twice fought on the same bill as Muhammad Ali at Madison Square Garden, New York, and was voted Greatest Ever British Boxer in a 1978 poll organised by the sport’s British trade newspaper, Boxing News.

The statue campaign got under way earlier this year and is being spearheaded by Owen Smith, a friend of the boxer.

Owen told the News they had now netted £10,000 towards the memorial and spoke to thank the women for their efforts.

He said: “From just being up and running for six months the public donations have been fantastic.

“I’m proud to be his friend and that’s why I’m doing it. He looked after me when I was an amateur boxer and he was my manager so I want to give a wee bit back.”

florence.snead@jpress.co.uk