THE inaugural Hearts & Balls Festival, which will take place in Glasgow’s West End tomorrow (Saturday 23rd June), is all down to Jim Taylor MBE, who created the event to say thanks to the rugby community for the support he has received during the four decades since he suffered a paralysing injury playing the game he loves.
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.
The festival will mark the 40th anniversary since Jim’s rugby accident which left him unable to walk. The event is in aid of Hearts & Balls, the charity which continues to support Jim.
Jim hopes the celebration will help raise awareness about the support needed for rugby players impacted by serious injury or illness. The charity often aids in the form of property conversions, equipment, travel costs, respite care, legal costs and counselling.
“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,” said Jim, who is a Hearts & Balls ambassador.
Former Glasgow Warriors and Scotland captain Al Kellock is a member of the Hearts & Balls Board.
“Jim plays an important role in the culture and environment at Glasgow Warriors [where he is a partnership account manager]. Our ethos at the club is all about hard work and respect. Both traits are exhibited by Jim on a daily basis,” said Kellock.
“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 & 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.
The Hearts & Balls Festival, A Thank You from Jim Taylor to the Rugby Community is sponsored by Harper Macleod LLP, Kelvinside Academy and the BIG Partnership.
The Hearts and Balls Charitable Trust was conceived in 1999 when Struan Kerr-Liddell from the Lismore Rugby Club in Edinburgh suffered a serious spinal injury that left him unable to walk.
Hearts and Balls has donated in the region of £450,000 to rugby players and their families.
Date:: Saturday 23rd June
Time: Gates oen at 6pm for entry to marquee and bar
When: Balgray Playing Fields, 40 Chesterfield Avenue, Glasgow, G12 0BL – just off Great Western Road near Anniesland Junction end
Price: £30 with food from two units included
To book: visit Eventbrite.
Dress coder: Smart casual
To find out more, visit heartsandballs.org.uk