Charity

VIDEO: Hearts + Balls Festival in West End is Jim’s way of saying ‘thank you, friends’

By Ian Marland at
The inaugural Hearts and Balls Festival will take place in Glasgow’s West End on Saturday 23 June.

And the occasion is all down to Jim Taylor MBE, who created the event to say thanks to the rugby community.

The former Kelvinside Academicals player, who was awarded an MBE in 2015, broke his neck in 1978 when a rugby scrum collapsed during a game against Old Aloysians.

Jim Taylor and Heart + Balls Festival

Inspiration: Glasgow Warriors’ Robert Harley with Jim Taylor

The festival will mark the 40th anniversary since Jim’s rugby accident which left him unable to walk and is in aid of Hearts + Balls, the charity which continues to support Jim.

Jim, who is a Hearts + Balls ambassador, hopes the celebration will help raise awareness about the support needed for rugby players impacted by serious injury or illness.

He said: “The kindness, generosity of spirit, camaraderie and team work shown by my friends, team mates and colleagues has been incredibly special. I’m proud to continue to build unique, lasting friendships because of rugby through my role at the charity, work with Glasgow Warriors and support of club sides across the city and beyond.”

The event will raise money for rugby players and their families in need of support. The charity often aids in the form of property conversions, equipment, travel costs, respite care, legal costs and counselling.

Al Kellock, the former Glasgow Warriors and Scotland captain, serves on the Hearts + Balls board.

The PRO 12 winning captain, now a business development manager for Scottish Rugby, has got to know Jim, who is a partnership account manager at Glasgow Warriors, both personally and professionally in recent years.

‘Sterling example’

He said: “Jim plays an important role in the culture and environment at Glasgow Warriors. Our ethos at the club is all about hard work and respect. Both traits are exhibited by Jim on a daily basis.

“It’s a measure of the man that he has organised this event to thank the rugby community, when it is us who should be thanking him for setting a sterling example of how to triumph in the face of adversity.

“Hearts + Balls is a charity which provides support to those members of the rugby community who need it most and Jim is a perfect example of just what can be achieved.

“I was very fortunate to play the sport I love for many years but have also seen first-hand the impact severe injury can have on a person’s life. The work Hearts and Balls is doing is incredible.”

Jim hopes the celebration, which includes a performance from John Beattie’s band, will help raise awareness about the support needed for rugby players impacted by serious injury or illness.

The festival will take place at Kelvinside Academy’s Balgray Playing Fields in Glasgow, with hundreds expected to show-up to pay tribute to Jim. Tickets are £30 and all profits will go toward helping rugby help its own.


Watch: Tributes to Jim Taylor who has organised the Hearts + Balls Festival

The Hearts and Balls Festival, A Thank You from Jim Taylor to the Rugby Community is sponsored by Harper Macleod LLP, Kelvinside Academy and the BIG Partnership.

Professor Lorne Crerar, Chairman of law firm Harper Macleod and a long-time friend of Jim, said: “Harper Macleod is delighted to get behind the Hearts + Balls Festival and help Jim say thank you for the support he’s received from rugby in the only way he knows – by in turn helping others.

“ Hearts + Balls is a fantastic charity and one that anyone who has played the game at any level, or who simply loves the sport, can get behind. Knowing Jim, and indeed the wider rugby community, I’m sure it is going to be a tremendous evening and a party that’s not to be missed.”

* To find out more, visit www.heartsandballs.org.uk