Carnoustie Rugby Club honoured one of its most popular figures in a weekend memorial to the man who had the Angus outfit in his heart – wherever he was in the world.
The Peter Christie Memorial Stand was officially unveiled by his wife and son as players from across Scotland took part in an over-35s tournament celebrating the lifelong contribution to the club of the devoted family man who died last June at the age of 54.
From his first appearance for the side as a teenage schoolboy, Peter remained a stalwart of the side, captaining it on several occasions.
A playing highlight was leading out Carnoustie when the Angus outfit reached the Bowl final at Murrayfield in 1985.
After hanging up the boots of his own playing career, Peter then continued his close involvement through youth and adult coaching.
New Year Dook
With clubmate Rod Bruce, Peter also organised the town’s first New Year Dook in 1995 to raise funds for an U16’s tour to Romagne in France.
Saturday’s tournament began with the poignant naming ceremony of the new Peter Christie stand at Carnoustie High School.
Peter’s wife, Heather, praised the “vision and hard work” which had led to the creation of the new stand, and the effort which went in to staging Saturday’s tournament.
She said: “Those of you who had the privilege of knowing Peter will be aware he had four loves.
“Family, friends, old VW Beetles and Carnoustie Rugby Club – and not necessarily in that order!”
Peter’s lifelong involvement with the club began as a 15-year-old when less stringent rules meant he could play for the school in the morning and the FPs in the afternoon.
Heather added: “During his life he may have played for a couple of other teams but his club was only ever Carnoustie.
“Nothing was too much effort, even if it meant hiring a car, driving from Wales, playing a game of rugby and then driving back to Wales, all in the same day.”
She spoke with fondness of memorable occasions including the club’s Murrayfield Bowl final appearance when the couple’s daughter, Morgan, was the Carnoustie mascot.
Heather added: “Peter spent many years working abroad and before the internet he would phone home every Saturday night desperate for an update of the score and details of that week’s game.
“He had a knack of reaching out to people and making an impression on them – usually a good one. I think it was because he was genuinely interested in them.
“He made friends easily and many lifelong friends within the club and beyond.
“Many are here today and I would like to personally thank them for their support over the past year.
“Peter had a saying which he used when coaching the kids and one which he truly believed – ‘No matter where in the world you are, if you find yourself a rugby club, you find yourself friends’,” she said.
The couple’s son, Daniel, kicked the first ball to start the opening match between the Carnoustie President’s select and Brechin Bruce.
Carnoustie and Arbroath pipe bands were in attendance, along with the Scottish Rugby Union and Grampian Clan.
The Grampian Clan is a registered charity aimed at developing a unified rugby team to help people with or without disabilities into the sport of rugby and they lined up against the Fife Clan in a match ahead of the main tournament finale.
Carnoustie Rugby Club president Colin Murray said: “I’m thrilled to bits to be able to hold this event in memory of a great clubman, colleague and friend who touched the hearts and minds of many people over the years.
“It was a fantastic day for everyone and a fitting tribute to Peter and his family who have loyally supported Carnoustie Rugby Club over many years.”
Andy Cummins, SRU regional manager added: “Peter was a highly respected and well-known rugby man throughout the region.
“His passion and commitment to the game were clear, and he introduced the joy of the game to countless youngsters in local schools and the club.
“I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate his life than bringing many of his former teammates and opponents together at this Festival of Rugby.”
The Caledonia Midlands Division Two club plays it games at Carnoustie High has its clubroom at the town’s Kinloch Arms Hotel.
A thriving structure includes junior teams at primary school age, U14, U16 and the new formation of an Angus County Colts U18 side in conjunction with Strathmore and Montrose rugby clubs. IT also supports secondary school rugby through the curriculum, at Carnoustie High.
Carnoustie’s adult teams are the 1st XV and the Old Boards Over 35s.