Andy Murray takes to Court number 1 tomorrow in search of his first Wimbledon title and his second Grand Slam win. He might come across as a morose or dour character but he’s an inspiration and a hero to many.
The image above is on his return to his home town of Dunblane after winning his Gold for the Men’s Singles and Silver for the Mixed doubles at last year’s London Olympics. In tonight’s documentary on him he talked for the first time about the effect of the school shooting in Dunblane in 1996 at a time when he was in the school and heading towards the gym where Thomas Hamilton walked into the school, killed sixteen pupils, a teacher and then himself. Obviously it is still something that lives with him as he really struggled with even the idea of talking about it.
I remember clearly the day it happened on 13th March 1996. I was still at school myself and the news came through although it was unclear initially what had happened – all we knew was that there had been a shooting in a Scottish school. I vividly remember looking around me at my own surroundings in the school and wondering just how safe it was. There was a hush of shock and bemusement fell over the school in the days after with no-one knowing what to make of the situation or what the reaction should be. The positive that came out of that day was a gun amnesty and a tightening of the laws on owning handguns in the UK which has helped to prevent a repeat of this kind of atrocity happening again.
Andy Murray said that he hopes he has “Made Dunblane proud”, and without question he has. Just look at the reaction he got when he returned to the town to see his golden post box and meet his most ardent fans. He admits himself that he has been asked about the massacre on several occasions and for many it has been the elephant in the room. For me and many others just the mention of the town’s name is enough to send a shiver down my spine and what it did to a whole generation of children and parents is inconceivable. What Andy has done is not to ignore those events but pay respect to the place he and his friends and family grew up by becoming a beacon for them to look at the positive that come out of that sort of tragedy. Whether he is doing it for them or not the effect must be heartening to a community who will still have the scars of tat day on their hearts.
The continued success and, fingers crossed, a positive outcome for Murray over the next couple of weeks will further strengthen and bolster the community and country that is proud to call him one of their own. C’mon Andy!