People in sport

Bill Shankly (1913-1981)

Picture: Bill Shankly

Born in the village of Glenbuck, South of Muirkirk on the A70, Bill Shankly is remembered by a memorial stone listing his achievement in the world of football from his humble beginnings with the Glenbuck Cherrypickers through to his time in charge of Liverpool F.C.

The Shankly Gates are situated next to the Anfield Road End of Liverpool's ground. They were unveiled in 1982 in memory of the famous reds manager. The gates use the adopted Liverpool anthem 'You'll Never Walk Alone' across the top and are used as the entrance to Anfield for the team coaches on match days. There is also the Shankly Statue.

For those who want to find out more about this village football team that sent players to teams like Preston North End, Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United, Everton and Scottish giants like Kilmarnock and Hearts of Midlothian, many of whom moved on to management, read 'The Cherrypickers', co-written by Rev M. H. Faulds and William Tweedie, Jnr. It is still available in the Dick Institute, Kilmarnock.

Picture: Bill Shankly Memorial, Glenbuck, Ayrshire. The inscription reads: Seldom in the history of sport can a village the size of Glenbuck have produced so many who reached the pinacle of achievement in their chosen sport. this monument is dedicated to their memory and to the memory of one man in particular, BILL SHANKLY. The legend. The genius. The man. Born Glenbuck, 2nd September 1913, died Liverpool, 29 September 1981. From Anfield with Love. Thanks Shanks. This plaque was laid on April 27 1997 by Scottish Coal, Liverpool Away Supporters Club and Network 5.

^ Bill Shankly Memorial at Glenbuck
   (Select for a larger picture)


Cameron Sharp (1958 - present)

Cameron Sharp is the most successful track and field athlete that Ayrshire has ever produced.

He showed early talent as a sprinter in 1975 when he won the Scottish school boys' 100m and 200m Championships.

In the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, Sharp won a gold medal in the 4x100m relay. The Scottish Relay Team also included Allan Wells, David Jenkins and Drew McMaster.

He went on to compete at the 1980 Summer Olympic Games in Moscow in the 100m and 200m where he reached the semi finals of both sprints, and was a member of the 4 x 100 m relay where the UK finished fourth in the final in a new British record.

He took the silver medal in the 200m at the European Championships in Athens in 1982, narrowly losing the Gold to East German sprinter Olaf Prenzler, but beating another top East German (Frank Emmelmann, the 100 m winner) into bronze. Sharp also finished fourth in the 100m final, again narrowly missing out on a second medal at these championships.

In the Commonwealth Games of 1982 in Brisbane, Scotland's sprint dominance in Athletics was shown by Cameron's Bronze in both the 100m and 200m as well as Allan Wells' win in the 100m and 200m and the Men's 4x100m relay team who won Bronze.

In 1983, Cameron competed at the world championships in Helsinki, where he reached the semi finals of both the sprints, narrowly missing out on places in the finals.

He was Scottish 100m and 200m champion with a famous 10m victory over 1980 Olympic champion Allan Wells.  Sharp also won 3 UK National Championships, the AAA 100m and was also the AAA's indoor 60m champion.

He competed in his third Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh in 1986, where he won another Bronze medal with the sprint relay team.

His personal bests in the sprints were

100 m - 10.20s       200 m - 20.47s

Sadly Cameron’s career was prematurely ended by a serious car accident in 1991 and he has won admiration for his courageous fight against his injuries. He was educated at Kilmarnock Academy but has lived away from East Ayrshire for many years now. He did return to see the historic opening of the new Ayrshire Athletics Arena and passing of the Olympic Torch on 8 June 2012 and there is an area of the new Arena dedicated to him.

Margaret McDowall 

Margaret McDowall, a talented swimmer, was a pupil of Kilmarnock Academy. She was a member of the Scottish Swimming Team from the age of 14. The Kilmarnock Academy swimming baths were still in use and she used them for her training - a memorable sight for her contemporaries at the academy.

In the 1950s she was the dominant force in British women's backstroke swimming. Her greatest achievement was to win the silver medal in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. She was also in the triumphant Scottish Medley Relay Team in the 1954 Commonwealth Games in Vancouver. The glory for Scotland at the games was the triumph of our three women swimmers - all we had - in the medley relay. Helen O. Gordon, Margaret Girvan and Margaret McDowall won in a new Games record time of 3 mins 51 secs. Victory against the swimming teams from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and England had seemed too much to hope for.

Peter Kirkbride

Kilmarnock weightlifter Peter Kirkbride is amongst some of Scotland's most successful athletes.


In 2010 Peter won a Silver Medal at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, just missing out on the Gold Medal by only 1kg. He was delighted with his achievement though and new Personal Best Record, stating: "It was the biggest achievement in my career."

Peter also competed at the world’s biggest sporting competition, the 2012 London Olympic Games. This was his dream come true, to be a local lad who had trained all his teenage and adult years for this moment. Peter was lifting very well, with another Personal Best Record, until injury hampered his performance and final lifts.

He currently boasts many National and International honours and has broken many records along the way, mainly his own. He is the current Scotland and GB Number One in the 94kg category and continues to progress well in weightlifting.

Peter is fully expected to challenge for medals at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

Not only does Peter train at Kilmarnock Amateur Weightlifting Club up to 10 times per week, he coaches the youngsters who also attend and helps them to believe that they too can achieve their goals. He understands that he is a role model to those who train at the gym and believes that he owes everything he has achieved to the Club and is pleased to be able to help develop its future stars. 

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