The loved ones of a Scottish rugby hero have teamed up to continue his legacy of transforming the lives of players seriously injured in the sport. 

Jim Taylor MBE was one of the most-loved pillars of Scotland's rugby community and an ambassador to Hearts & Balls, a charity which supports sportspeople with life-changing injuries. 

A former Kelvinside Academicals player, Jim broke his neck aged 23 when a scrum collapsed during a game against Old Alovsians in 1978. 

Read more: Obituary: Jim Taylor, ‘Ultimate warrior’ who overcame adversity

After the 67-year-old stalwart's death in December 2022, his wife, close friend, and mentee have stepped up to continue his "indefatigable" efforts.

As Hearts & Balls enters its 25th year, Struan Kerr-Liddell will take on the mantle as the charity’s ambassador, leading on providing support and guidance to players who suffer life-changing injuries. 

The Herald: Jim Taylor with his wife SandraJim Taylor with his wife Sandra (Image: Contributed)

The charity was initially created as a result of the rugby community’s efforts to rally behind Struan, who broke his neck playing for Lismore Rugby Club in 1999.

In the years since, Jim proved to be an "invaluable" support and mentor to Struan, while the charity has significantly widened its support.

Also joining the charity’s board will be Jim’s wife of almost 30 years, Sandra Taylor, who has been heavily involved in Hearts & Balls since the beginning, working alongside Jim to support those who needed it.

Read more: Paralysed rugby player has no regrets 30 years on

She said: “Jim always liked to help injured players any way he could, particularly when it came to sharing knowledge from his own experience. 

“We are indebted to the help we received over the years from Hearts & Balls. Having been involved in one way or another since the beginning, I’m looking forward to formalising my role and helping Hearts & Balls continue to be there as a vital support for those who need it.”

The Herald: Jim Taylor with Al KellockJim Taylor with Al Kellock (Image: Contributed) 

And Hugh Dan MacLennan – a former BBC Alba rugby commentator who gave the eulogy at Jim's funeral – will take on the role of chair as Kenny Hamilton steps down after more than nine years. 

Hugh Dan, who retired from a 40-year sporting broadcasting career last year, is best known as the former voice of Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun stadium, where he became close to Jim and Sandra. 

He said: “You can’t replace a Jim Taylor. What we must do is preserve his diligence, his aspirations, his passion and his warmth. 

“We must work towards achieving everything that remarkable man stood for, and we must find a suitable way to mark his incredible contribution to Scottish Rugby. 

“As he neared the end, he asked me to join the charity which was an honour in itself and I am now humbled to be asked to pick up from Kenny.

The Herald: Struan Kerr-Liddel and Gavin HastingsStruan Kerr-Liddel and Gavin Hastings (Image: Hearts & Balls)

"I promised Jim I’d do my best to continue his good work. Making sure Hearts & Balls can support those within the rugby community who need it is the best way to pay tribute to Jim and preserve his legacy. 

“I am proud to take on this new role at the same time as Sandra and Struan – they understand better than anyone why this charity is absolutely vital. With their valuable insight and input they will keep us aligned to our charity’s North Star:  to help rugby help its own. 

“I’m stepping into big shoes replacing Kenny Hamilton as chair – he has done a phenomenal job and achieved so much. The charity is in a fantastic place with a strong board, heightened awareness thanks to our women’s and men’s Hearts & Balls MB sevens teams and renewed vigour as we all look to do Jim proud.

Read more: Jim Taylor: What it feels like to break your neck

"I look forward to working closely with the Murrayfield Injured Players Foundation and Scottish Rugby to make sure everyone within our community who needs help gets the help they need. The rugby community needs to know we are here to help.”

Hearts & Balls has so far contributed more than £700,000 – as well as providing advocacy, support and advice – to injured players. It also continues to support clubs to make accessibility improvements, from disabled toilets to access ramps and lifts. 

Its board is currently planning its 25th anniversary celebration fundraiser and on April 17; it will host its first annual Jim Taylor MBE Golf Day at Glasgow Golf club. 

To find out more about the charity, visit