MORTON chairman Douglas Rae is swapping the beautiful game for Gourock Highland Games after being named this year’s chieftain.

The businessman — chairman of the Golden Casket confectionery corporation — will preside over the 61st annual games at their new permanent home at Battery Park on Sunday May 14.

Mr Rae, who was recently awarded the MBE, is delighted at being invited to be chieftain.

He said: “I am absolutely thrilled and extremely honoured to have been asked.

“I am really looking forward to the event and to spending the day with everyone taking part.

“Hopefully the sun will be shining.”

“I have taken on many roles in Inverclyde but this is the first time I have been asked to be Chieftain of the Pudding Race and I’m very pleased.”

Gourock Highland Games holds a unique position marking the start of the Scottish Highland Games season and this year’s event comes just a week before the first major pipe band championships.

Alongside pipe band competitions the event includes traditional highland games, heavyweight events, the West of Scotland Highland Dance Championships and mini highland games involving local school children.

Around 100 dancers are expected to take part in the event and local teacher Sharon Murdoch says it promises to be a wonderful day.

Sharon, of May Hughes School of Dance, said: “It’s going to be a great spectacle.”

The event will also host the first ‘come and try sports’ event with a range of free sports activities.

Fairground rides, children’s activities, vintage fire engines and a wide range of food and community stalls add to the entertainment for people of all ages.

The Games open to the public at noon on Sunday May 14 and culminate with the Chieftain’s March Past at 5.30pm.

Gourock Highland Games is organised by Inverclyde Council and supported by River Clyde Homes, Inverclyde Active Schools, Gourock Community Sports Hub and Gourock festival of sports while the piping competitions at the games are run under the auspices of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association.