Rugby stars line up for tragic cop

The late Steve Cully, pictured with his children Hannah and Josh
The late Steve Cully, pictured with his children Hannah and Josh
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RUGBY legends are to gather in the Capital to play in a tribute match in memory of a police officer.

Dad-of-two Steve Cully died aged just 41 after suffering a heart attack in September last year.

A keen rugby player himself, he represented Ireland and turned out for Murrayfield, Edinburgh Wanderers, Murrayfield Wanderers, Stewarts Melville FP, Edinburgh Academicals as well at the British Police team.

Now, in a bid to raise funds for Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland, the likes of Scott Hastings, Doddie Weir, below, and Gregor Townsend will line up for the Steve Cully Select at Fettes police HQ next month to take on a team of Lothian and Borders officers.

Since his death, Steve’s wife, Rosie, 40, has helped raise almost £20,000 for the charity. She said the match would be a fitting tribute to her husband, with whom she had two children – Josh, four, and seven-year-old Hannah.

Rosie said: “Steve was such a fun-loving guy and rugby was one of his great loves, so myself and his ex-colleagues thought ‘why not have a fundraiser where some of his friends and team-mates could come together?’ The response from all of the guys has been brilliant.

“Although the last year has been very hard, we want to remember Steve as the energetic soul he was and this match will be a fitting tribute.”

Steve was brought up in Belfast, but moved to the Capital in 1990 to study at Heriot-Watt University. He represented Ireland under-21s and the Irish Exiles at rugby and was also a successful women’s coach, leading a team from Heriot-Watt – The Wandies – to league and cup success in the early 1990s.

Steve joined Lothian and Borders Police in 1994 and worked in a number of roles before fulfilling his ambition to become a firearms officer.

He called time on his rugby career in 2005 but took up long-distance running. In 2009, he was part of a team of officers who took part in the gruelling Marathon des Sables in the Sahara Desert, raising thousands of pounds for charity in the process.

Other ex-Scotland internationalists Gary Armstrong, Peter Wright and Barry Stewart will also take to the field, with former Boroughmuir hooker David Cunningham and current scrum-half Sam Johnston playing for the police.

Roddy Bainton, a friend of Steve’s and former firearms instructor, has helped organise the match, which will take place on Sunday, September 16.

He said: “Not only will spectators be given the unique opportunity to see legends from the game in action once again, but there will be a whole range of family-friendly events on offer. I would encourage any rugby fans and their families to come along.”