Sports like rugby make a real difference to children's health and Leith's club in one of the best – Hayley Matthews

I remember as a teenager in the early 90s heading home from Leith Academy after the bell, walking up the back of Hawkhill.
The benefits of regular sport to kids' health and well-being are as clear as day (Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images)The benefits of regular sport to kids' health and well-being are as clear as day (Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images)
The benefits of regular sport to kids' health and well-being are as clear as day (Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images)

Things have come full circle now as I spend Sunday mornings there, watching my eldest play rugby at Leith Academy. I'm a very proud mum.

But there are those who will be able to reminisce even further back than my 90s memories. Those who will be looking forward to celebrating 100 years of Leith Rugby in season 2021/22.

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Yes, they've been going strong since kicking off back in 1921 when the Leith Academicals Rugby Football Club was formed through a grant from the Leith Academy FP Association.

A very well used grant if I do say so myself. They've done well coming from the early days as one of the top junior clubs in Scotland, through a wonderful 70 years at Hawkhill, to today where they are in residence at Academy Park.

There are lots of memories and successes to celebrate and to say I'm delighted that my son loves his Leith Rugby is a massive understatement!

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Watching him charging towards the opposition raises goosebumps on my arms whilst lifting my hopes of him becoming a future Scotland rugby star. We've been going for years now and the change in confidence when he plays is just amazing.

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But it's not just our family that Leith Rugby have made a difference to, they've rippled through the Leith community making positive changes for so many people. I can see how we've gotten to 100 years with this wonderful club!

I've had it on good authority that there will be a host of events and activities planned to celebrate the centenary and supporters will be able to keep up to date with the activity on Leith Rugby's social channels as well as at Leithers and fans can also support the club’s chosen centenary charities too.

There’s even going to be some limited edition Leith Rugby centenary merchandise released throughout the year. I know my son will be keen to show support and pick up some pieces.

It's so important that we support such a thriving local club and keep up the pace. A wonderful football coach, John Robertson, said to me years ago: “Get your sons into sport.”

His reasoning was that it helps to stave off boredom, gives a purpose on a Saturday morning and benefits mental health, something that this past year has seen our children challenged with more than ever.

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It's clear as day to see the benefits of regular sport and team playing for our kids’ health and well-being. The fun of competitive sport, the sense of inclusion and of being part of a team are all good for our kids. These things are not to be sniffed at. Just think of all the good done by Leith Rugby this last 100 years. It's lovely.

If you're interested in join the centenary celebrations, September 11 sees President's Day and the new strip launch, October sees Past Players Day and Game Night, whilst the grand Centurion Ball will be held on November 27.

Finally, my radio days are coming through. I'd love to give a big congratulations to this year’s APP pupils who successfully passed their course work, as well as a massive shout out to those at the heart of Leith Rugby: Gordon, Brian, Jim, Alex, Bruce, Russell, Derek, Ross and all the coaches, players, parents and everyone else in between – THANK YOU!

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