At an inaugural event in Edinburgh, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal gave a warm welcome to two former Olympic stars who have joined the experts planning The Eric Liddell 100.
The event was a formal dinner in support of The Eric Liddell 100 at which Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal spoke about how relevant Eric Liddell remains in the 21st century.
Eilidh Doyle was the event’s keynote speaker which also included an address from Lord David Puttnam, producer of the Oscar-winning film Chariots of Fire.
Eilidh Doyle and The Rt Hon Lord Campbell of Pittenweem, CH CBE PCQC FRSE have become members of the growing band of corporate professionals, sporting heroes, and educational and cultural masterminds, working together to plan and deliver a major programme of national and international events to recognise and celebrate the life, sporting and community service achievements of one of Scotland’s most inspirational figures.
Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal is the Patron of The Eric Liddell 100, the initiative being led by The Eric Liddell Community, a registered care charity in Edinburgh, with the input and support of a wide range of partners. While it will be a celebration of the centenary of Eric’s record-breaking run at the 1924 Olympics in Paris, it also intends to create an enduring legacy celebrating the inspirational way he lived his life.
The event brought together a number of people who want to become more involved with The Eric Liddell 100.
Eilidh reflected on Eric’s sporting achievements, particularly the switch he made from 100m to 400m.
She posed the question “if you were to ask any current 100m sprinter in the UK just now, which event they would do if they couldn’t compete in their 100m event at the Olympics next year, I wonder how many of them would opt for the 400m?”
Then Eilidh said:
“For him to choose to target this event and not just run it at the Olympics, he had to go through all that gruelling training and hard work beforehand to be ready to even make that team, is incredible in itself. But then to go on and not only compete in that event at the games but to actually go on and win says a lot about his physical capabilities, yes of course, but actually I think it says even more about his mindset and his sense of self and ability. He wasn’t fazed, he wasn’t overly cautious, he was committed and strong.”
“That is why I’m really proud to be involved in The Eric Liddell 100. The values he showed, the skills and strengths he displayed are so inspiring and that’s why it’s fantastic we have The Eric Liddell Community to keep these alive and continue his legacy. And now looking ahead to next year, and the 100-year anniversary, we can carry these stories further, into our schools, into our clubs, and into more communities.
So much of what Eric Liddell stood for as well as everything he achieved can be relatable and relevant to all aspects of life. And that’s why it’s important for us to celebrate and share these values and make the next generations very much aware of who he was and what he achieved. Not just to carry on his legacy, but because the next generation can learn so much from him and can be inspired.”
“Next year when the Olympics come back to Paris, 100 years on from that incredible performance from Eric Liddell, it will be great to know his impact and his legacy lives on and hopefully will continue to do so for the next 100 years.”
Commenting John MacMillan said:
“Our guests were thrilled to listen to HRH The Princess Royal’s inspiring speech in support of The Eric Liddell 100 and to hear her thoughts on how Eric Liddell’s values are relevant in the 21st century.”
“I am absolutely delighted that Eilidh has kindly agreed to join our Strategic Leadership Group. She retired from athletics in May 2021 as the most decorated Scottish track and field athlete of all time, while also being a two-time GB Olympian.
“Like Eric Liddell, Eilidh is a graduate of Edinburgh University and was inducted into their Sports Hall of Fame in 2014, the year she was awarded the Sportswoman of the Year, for a fourth time, by our friends and colleagues at Scottish Athletics.”
“2014 was a great year for Eilidh as she became the European Champion and won the Silver in the Commonwealth Games, a feat she repeated in 2010 and 2018 in the 400 metres hurdles. This and many other brilliant performances resulted in Eilidh amassing 17 medals from major championships”,
Commenting on Lord Campbell joining The Eric Liddell 100, John MacMillan said:
“The Rt Hon Lord Campbell of Pittenweem, CH CBE PCQC FRSE will bring a wide range of related and expert experience to our Group and our aims to secure, develop and celebrate the legacy of Eric Liddell.”
“He was a Member of the London Olympics Committee in 2012, has served on both the UK and Scottish Sports Councils, is a former Olympian who captained the UK Athletics Team, was the UK 100m record holder from 1967 – 1974, was a Member of Parliament 1987 – 2015 and is now a Member of the House of Lords.”