The Stew Mel Lions
Now renamed Stew Mel Lions, we are actively promoting our fully open membership policy, which means anyone, between the ages of 4 and 12 with an interest in the game, is welcome. Who knows, you could be playing for Scotland in the future, like many of our coaches and volunteers have done. Bill Gammell, Iwan Tukalo, Jim and Fin Calder, Sean Lineen, Scott Riddell and Nick Penny to name but a few.
Run by willing parents who volunteer their time and talents, the Section took off with the full backing of the Rugby Club, under the Presidency of Willie Crawford, and the Headmaster of the Junior School, Bryan Lewis. This working party gradually became the management committee and comprised, amongst others, John Longstaff, Bernard McDonald, Gerry Boobis, Ian Hanlin, Jim Calder and Mike Sims.
Parents who had offered to assist with the coaching duties were invited to coaching clinics run by Ian Mclean, one of the SRU Development Officers, and the Rugby Club’s coach at that time. 35 parents attended the first session. Other volunteers were invited to look after catering, finance and fixtures.
In June 1996 an open day was held at Inverleith to launch the Section. Sean Lineen and Finlay Calder were the “stars” on the day, which was attended by over 200 youngsters. The mass warm up at the start of the event was thought to be the largest warm up ever!
Bernard McDonald was appointed the first Chairman of the Junior Section and remained in the seat for three years. Ian Hanlin “coached the coaches” and Jim Calder was responsible for the development of the Section.
Into the Millennium
Since 1996 the Section has gone from strength to strength and now has well over 200 members making Sunday training very much a family occasion. The expanding club growing to include a girls section as well as providing a pathway from the Lions to a midi section for S1-S3 boys. With the Stew Mel Lions going from strength to strength, a strong relationship has developed with Clusone rugby club where they host a fantastic tournament for P7 children in Northern Italy. Thanks to Lynne Lineen and ex-Italian prop Sergio Ghillani, this has now become a regular tour fixture in the Stew Mel calendar and a highlight for the Lions.
In 2011, the Stew Mel Lions became the first club in Edinburgh to gain Positive Coaching Scotland (PCS) accreditation which the club holds dear to its heart. At the end of season BBQ, Allan and Linda Lawson presented the club with their accreditation on behalf of the Bill McLaren Foundation in the presence of Scottish Rugby legends Jim Calder and Sean Lineen, SRU reps Bosman du Plessis and Greg Caan, Olympic Coach and PCS Mentor Tommy Boyle, club chairman David Allan, all the coaches, boys, girls and parents. A very proud day for the club.