Posted: 16 January 2024

Scottish Rowing is saddened to hear of the passing of George Hunter OBE at the age of 97 on 20 December 2023.

When George left the army at the end of World War II, he became Secretary of the Scottish Amateur Rowing Association (SARA) (the predecessor to Scottish Rowing). His first task was to bring together the different rowing associations which existed in Scotland at that time, and bring ‘home’ those Scottish clubs who were affiliated to the ARA in London. Despite the obvious sense in of merging these associations, it took over four years until an agreement was reached and the Scottish Amateur Rowing Association emerged as the sole governing body in Scotland.


George Hunter OBE


George was on the executive of the SARA for 51 years. He combined the roles of secretary and treasurer for many years, served two terms as president and then completed another term as treasurer, before retiring in 2001.

As SARA Secretary, George started attending meetings of the Scottish Commonwealth Games Council and in around 1950 became their Treasurer. This led to him being Treasurer for the 1970 Commonwealth Games held in Edinburgh, and he was acutely aware that rowing was not included in these Games. George was instrumental in winning the bid process for the 1986 games, again to be centred in Edinburgh, with rowing to be included at the newly-created Strathclyde Park, a venue where George had been closely involved in the creation of the rowing course and infrastructure. Inevitably perhaps, George was Treasurer for this event, and it was due to his careful and constant attention to detail that the regatta ended up with a surplus.

George was instrumental in resurrecting St Andrew Boat Club in the 1950’s and set up the rowing club at his old school George Watson’s College in 1958.

In the early 1980’s, George set up the Scottish Sports Aid Foundation, now known as SportsAid Scotland, which has made more than 5,100 individual awards, totalling in excess of £3.1 million. In his time he has also been Chair of the Water of Leith Trust, Chair of the Edinburgh Canal Society, Chair of Scottish Inland Waterways, Chair of the Order of St John Association and Honorary Consul for Malta in Scotland.

When George retired from the front line of rowing administration he was at pains to point out that throughout all his time in rowing he had had a lot of fun doing it – and after all, that is the most important aspect of anyone’s involvement.

George’s funeral will be on Monday 22nd January at 11:30 at Mortonhall Crematorium, Edinburgh.