History of the Lions

The Stew Mel Lions

Stewart’s Melville FP RFC Junior Section was launched at the start of the 1996-97 rugby season with two main aims – to foster youngsters’ enjoyment of rugby and to provide high quality coaching. Please review our mission statement.

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 to name but a few.

Our History

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 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 over 200 members making Sunday training very much a family occasion. We have hosted and won several tournaments and regularly welcome other rugby clubs at Inverleith. We have been successful in attracting corporate sponsorship and are particularly grateful to ISIS for their support again this season.