Nicki catches up with Bill Duncan as he celebrates his amazing win as ‘Trustee of the Year’ at this year’s SPORTA UK Awards.

Working alongside people who are passionate about what they do is a very obvious perk that comes with writing for Live Active Leisure.  I am always inspired by the level of commitment and dedication that can be witnessed from venues through to Head Office, from part time instructors through to members of the board.

I’ve written previously about the volunteers who make up the Live Active Leisure board of directors and these Trustees are an invaluable source of experience across the many facets of LAL.  One such person is Perth man born and bred, Bill Duncan, who over the last 8 years has given tirelessly of his time.  For the past four of these Bill has held the position of Live Active Chairman and with this he has taken on an energetic leadership role, achieving much for the LAL Trust and the sector locally and nationally. Under Bill, Live Active Leisure has the 21st highest turnover and 13th largest employment numbers in the local area – that’s over 600 people employed across 2,000sq miles!

We were all delighted therefore, when Bill was voted “UK Trustee of the Year”  at the glittering ‘BAFTAs’ of the charitable leisure sector, the 10th anniversary SPORTA UK Awards.  The awards recognise outstanding work in engaging inactive people, energising communities and developing partnerships with the health and social enterprise sector.  The event saw BBC sports presenter Garry Richardson welcome charitable trusts large and small to celebrate a decade of managing sport, leisure and culture facilities and services across the country.

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The awards event was created as a fantastic opportunity to recognise the huge wealth of work put into local communities by their sports and fitness trusts.  There is a tremendous enthusiasm among trusts to learn from each other and at the heart of that is a desire to encourage everyone to become more active and to see our communities become healthier and happier, both physically and mentally.

Brian Leonard, SPORTA UK Chief Executive, commented: “One of the great strengths of UK trusts is the expertise that volunteer board members bring to the work of trust and we had great entries for the Trustee of the Year. Bill Duncan’s work in Perth and Kinross showcased the selfless commitment, enthusiasm and ambition of the volunteers that play a key role in supporting their communities to become stronger and more vibrant.”

The applications were considered by an independent judging panel comprising of professionals from across the UK sporting sector.  During the afternoon of Wednesday 11th May, Bill provided a presentation on the work of Live Active Leisure within Perth and Kinross, to everyone attending the Sporta UK meetings, workshops and awards and was available to respond to questions.  

Jim Moyes, CEO of Live Active Leisure was there with Bill and he had this to say:

“Bill has made a major contribution over many years on the Board; from finance & governance to HR and capital projects, he has been a key figure in driving the transformation and success of the organisation.

From my perspective, this award was entirely justified and reflects extremely positively on the Company, not least because of the level of entries from across the whole of the UK.  I was privileged to be in attendance with him and I am proud to count him as a long-time colleague.”

Bill himself commented, "I am truly honoured to have been selected by the Leisure & Culture Industry to be the first to receive such a prestigious award, amongst such well-deserved finalists.

Having worked in the financial industry for 44 years, many of which were spent in Perth & Kinross, retirement wasn't really for me! My work with Live Active Leisure has allowed me to build on my experience, and also to learn new skills, and continue to engage with the local business community in a new and exciting way. I have also thoroughly enjoyed meeting and sharing experiences with my peer group of Chairs within the SPORTA organisation and in particular across Scotland. 

Being in a position where I can give something back to the people of Perth & Kinross is hugely rewarding, and I am very proud to Chair such a successful local business, which is also a major employer within our area.”

Born in 1947 in Perth Bill had a 44 year career in banking and finance, becoming Director of External Affairs with the Bank of Scotland before retiring - from paid employment at least! - in 2007. As an 18 year old in 1965, he witnessed the Trust being established and now as a 68 year old Chairman of that Trust, he can take pride from his stewardship through a period of great change.

rsz dsc 0311A talented sportsman with a lifelong passion for curling, he has committed huge energy and knowledge in serving the community in a sports, community and charitable capacity. 

His contributions to enhancing the lives of others are too many to mention but range from President of Chamber of Commerce, Member of Trade Delegations to Germany, China and Poland, Director of Perth College UHI, President of Rotary Club of Perth, President and Board Member of RCCC, Chairman of the World Junior Curling Championships and RCCC International Representative to the World Curling Federation.

Add to that, being a Trustee of ‘The Free to Live’ Trust in India and you get a sense of the incredible personal sacrifice, commitment and energy he has brought to our local community and in particular, our business and sporting lives.

I’m sure you’ll all have noticed that Live Active Leisure celebrate their 50th year as a Trust this year (we’ve chatted about it once or twice! J ) which makes us the longest known sports and fitness trust in the UK.   To see Bill honoured during this year-long celebration is a huge thrill for all of us and our heartfelt thanks and congratulations go out to our wonderful Chairman and colleague.