Born: April 28, 1920; Died: February 8, 2013.
Robert Todd Grierson, who has died at the age of 92, was known and admired around the world as one of the sport of curling's greatest ambassadors. The winning skip of the World title-winning rink in 1958, he served as both president of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club and the European Curling Federation.
In these roles he travelled to every curling country in Europe as well as to Canada and the US on numerous occasions. where his statesman-like demeanour, integrity, generosity and humour brought him respect, admiration and a host of lifelong friends.
He was born in Manchester, to Scottish parents. Soon after he was born, the family moved back to south-west Scotland after buying Clendrie Farm outside Kirkcolm. He grew up there with his three older sisters and attended the village school. He then graduated to the High School in Stranraer. Although he was an intelligent pupil, he left school early to start working on the farm dairy and in due course, he took over its running.
His love of sport in all its forms brought colour and purpose to much of his long life but it was the world of curling where he well and truly left his mark. He had his first game as a 12-year-old boy on outside ice on Loch Connel, just over the hill from Clendrie Farm. Having been given the job of taking the sandwiches there to feed his father's friends, on his arrival he discovered one rink was a man short so his love affair with the game began.
He curled regularly at Crossmyloof Ice Rink and Ayr Ice Rink, where he was president. At Haymarket Ice Rink, Edinburgh, in 1958 he arrived with a team of Galloway farmers – his brother-in-law John Agnew, and brothers Sam and John McColm, his lifelong friends, to play in the Edinburgh World Championships, up against 77 other rinks from Canada, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Denmark, and of course, Scotland.
The foursome had originally gone to the capital to the fatstock show and only entered the curling competition as an afterthought. But they kept winning and when a couple of days had turned into a week, frantic phone calls home were made for money and clean clothes to be dispatched. These duly arrived with the wives just in time to see him play the shot of a lifetime to go from being two shots down in the last end of the final to score a three to win the game and the world title.
That win gave him an esteemed status in the world of curling and he quickly grew into the role of Scotland's main ambassador for the game at home and abroad. His curling travels led him to meet royalty – King Gustav of Sweden – and A-list celebrities; he arrived at Stockholm Airport once to be met by the daughter of the president of the Swedish Curling Association, none other than a teenage Britt Ekland.
In 1970 he was instrumental in encouraging hotelier Hammy McMillan to extend the hotel by building an ice rink at the North West Castle in Stranraer. Once built, he was the natural choice to become the first president of Stranraer Ice Rink. It was a great success and, within a few years, many talented young curlers travelled far and wide to win World and European titles, always accompanied by their mentor and friend Bob Grierson.
He is survived by his wife Betty, four daughters, nine grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.
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