Original and vest: East Kilbride thrilled to welcome Bobby home

Monday 10th April 2023

East Kilbride Athletic Club were delighted to welcome back to the club one of their original Senior members – 92-year-old Bobby Gannon.

Bobby joined the club in 1962 and competed as a Senior and Veteran as well as coaching throughout the 1960s and 70s. He fondly remembers, in the days before seat-belts, taking 15 or 16 kids to cross country races in his Volkswagen caravanette to Dalmuir, Coatbridge and other locations.

His own athletic career included breaking three hours for the marathon on nine occasions the last of which at age 58!

Arguably Bobby’s biggest contribution to EKAC however came about in 1969 when he suggested that the club vest be changed to the current colours of amber with two black bands.

The club was founded in 1959 by John Ballantyne and George Gorman. Both men had previous RAF connections so the original vest was sky blue almost identical to the current West District XC vest. It was a nod to their RAF past (as the RAF running club ran in a light blue singlet).

In 1969 Bobby had watched the East Kilbride rugby team and noticed that their colours were amber and black.

The town crest also contains these colours so this prompted Bobby to suggest the change.

He duly went into Greaves Sports (shop in Glasgow) and bought an amber coloured singlet and asked his wife Margaret, who was a professional seamstress, to stitch on the two black bands and so the current colours were created.

Bobby with the original EKAC vest and his new personalised club jacket

On the evening of Tuesday 4 April, Bobby attended a training session and very kindly donated that very first club vest back to the club.

It was a great privilege to accept the vest as not many clubs or sports teams can lay claim to having their very first original vest / strip.

In return, Bobby was presented with a current club jacket with his initials BG proudly displayed on the chest and an honorary life membership of the club by club President Gordon Colvin. Bobby then had photos taken with current members – some of whom are 83 years his younger.

After the formalities club coach Kenny Clements took Bobby on a lap of the track explaining all the current set up to him and introducing him to several coaches and athletes.

Bobby thoroughly enjoyed his evening and was impressed with the numbers at training, the quality of the athletes involved, the current facilities and organisation the club has in place.

He is now looking forward to wearing his new East Kilbride Athletic Club colours at his church walking group and intends visiting again on a nice summer evening . . .

With thanks to Jamie Clements

Bobby Gannon meets up with the current members at EKAC


Tags: East Kilbride AC, Gordon Colvin, Kenny Clements

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