TWO rugby stars have been named as the new ambassadors for a charity backing the transformation of a historic sports ground.
Former Scottish captain Mike Blair and current internationalist David Denton will work with the Raeburn Place Foundation to help attract funds for the redevelopment of Edinburgh Accies’ ground in Stockbridge.
Planning permission has been granted for a rugby pitch and 2500-seat stand alongside bars, shops and other facilities.
David Newlands, chairman of the Raeburn Place Foundation, said he was delighted that two “important” stars of Scottish rugby had been appointed to the official ambassador programme.
He said: “Mike has been associated with Raeburn Place since childhood and Dave, aged 18, played his first rugby for BATs at Raeburn Place after arriving in Scotland from Zimbabwe – so both have long-term ties with the ground and understand what the Foundation’s ambitions are for this historic venue.
“We look forward to working with them and are hugely grateful for their support.”
He added: “They share our vision for the creation of a facility that will give people, irrespective of background or ability, the every-day opportunity to come together, play, watch, appreciate and celebrate sport, with a redeveloped Raeburn Place at the heart of that vision.”
The redevelopment for Raeburn Place, where Blair played his first rugby as a seven-year-old school boy, was at the centre of controversy earlier this year over the ownership of a two-foot-wide strip of land, in front of the £16 million development. Blair, who visited the ground every Saturday afternoon as a child to throw a ball about with his friends, said: “I am delighted to be an ambassador for RPF and the redevelopment of Raeburn Place.
“The ground holds a special place in my heart as it is the cornerstone of so many of my memories.
“The redevelopment will ensure the ground is sustainable for the long-term, providing many more youngsters with great memories.”
Denton, who joined Edinburgh Rugby in 2010 and made his full Scotland debut in 2011, now has 34 international caps.
He said: “I fully support RPF’s aims to promote active participation in sport, as I know first-hand the benefits and enjoyment of being involved in physical activity and team sport.”
Blair played for Edinburgh Rugby for a decade and won 85 caps for Scotland.
Denton, who has 35 caps, left Edinburgh for Bath last year.