Exceptional Service Award: Stewart McGowan

Exceptional Service Award: Stewart McGowan

Among the many awards and presentations made at the National Championships this year there was one presentation (not to a player) which was also highly deserving of its place in the limelight.

One of Table Tennis Scotland’s great volunteers was presented with an award to mark in excess of 25 years “exceptional service” to the National Championships. The photograph illustrates Stewart McGowan receiving his special award from the Deputy Chair of TTS, Senga Thomson.

Many of our members will be aware of Stewart`s role as Referee at the National Championships and other TTS events such as the Inter League and Perth Grand Prix over many years but the scale and breadth of Stewart`s contribution to table tennis in Scotland is remarkable.

Stewart`s career as a Referee and Deputy Referee began way back in 1980 at the Beneagles Open and since then he has officiated at over 100 international events including, European League matches, two Chinese Tours, 1 Japanese Tour, the 1997 Commonwealth Championships, the Special Olympics and the UK School Games. 

As an umpire ( he qualified as an International Umpire aged 33) his skill and reputation ensured he was invited to many international events including the 1985 Commonwealth Championships in the Isle of Man, the 1994 European Championships in Birmingham, the 2000 Commonwealth Championships in Singapore and to the 2002 and 2014 Commonwealth Games in Manchester and Glasgow. His skill as a tutor has also been in demand over the years and he will be repeating soon another trip to Ireland to conduct an umpires/referee seminar.

Stewart`s love of table tennis began as a player however and born in Blairgowrie, he played for many years in the Perth and Dundee Leagues. Stewart`s “ real job ” was a fireman, a role which he carried out with distinction, and he is rightly proud of having represented the Scottish Fire Service in their home country table tennis quadrangular event for eight years.

His career in league administration began in the Perth and District League where he held the role of Match Secretary (1979-85) and Chairman (1991-1998).

In 1984 Stewart qualified as an STTA Coach and subsequently carried out NPC duties at a number of Junior and Cadet Tournaments.

 Stewart`s talent as an administrator was inevitably noticed by colleagues from the Scottish Table Tennis Association. From 1981-91 he held the position of Chairman of Administration/Tournaments/ Umpires and Referees and following a seven year respite was elected again for an impressive 19 year tenure from 1998 to 2017. Phew!!

In 2006 he took responsibility for the TTS archives and in 2012 began his Chairmanship of the TTS Awards/ Honours Committee. Stewart was elected Deputy Chairman from 2010 to 2016 and was delighted to be elected Honorary President of Table Tennis Scotland in 2016.

It is a remarkable career( not yet finished) and Stewart is quick to acknowledge the influence of and the invaluable mentoring received from many former STTA officials such as Stan Buchan, Denis George, Ben Dawson, Ian Dunbar and former President from Perth, Michael Thomson to name but a few.

Finally, Stewart would also be the first to acknowledge and thank his wife, Janice, for her constant support and encouragement.

Table Tennis Scotland

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