In Memory of Ian Brown

Ian Brown 1943-2024

Ian Brown commenced his badminton career in the Perth and District leagues in the 1960s. He never claimed to be a natural. When I asked him the highlight of his playing days, he told me that it was the day he met his wife Catherine, a mixed double partnership which has endured from that day to his death on 10 April 2024.

But where he did have talent in abundance was as a sports administrator. Poised, unflappable, and with a meticulous eye for detail, he was a huge asset to any committee, and a calming influence in any crisis.

Beginning with the Perth and District Badminton Association in the 1970s he very quickly graduated to the National Committees of what was then the Scottish Badminton Union.

He was President of the Scottish Badminton Union from 1989 to 1991. When the Union incorporated, he became Company Secretary to Badminton Scotland, from 2000 until 2017.
From the beginning of the 1970s he worked closely with then Chief Executive Anne Smillie, and both of them oversaw the development of the game from the single court church social of the 1960s , firstly through the advent of the multisport centres in the 70s and 80s, and then onwards to an arena sport, as when the 1999 and then 2007 World Championships were held in Scotstoun.

Which culminated more recently when planning the hugely successful World Championships held in the Emirates, Glasgow in 2017 . The latter, an event which attracted over 100,000 paying spectators, a worldwide TV audience of millions, and showed both the sport and the city at their very finest.

He also enjoyed a stint as a Commonwealth Games administrator from the 1986 Edinburgh Games to the Commonweath Games international Federation. He was awarded a Badminton World Federation Order of Merit for services to the sport internationally in 2007.

Ian loved Perth, was an Elder at Kinnoul Parish Church, and a dedicated Rotarian. He loved St. Johnstone, and he particularly loved the Bell’s Sports Centre. It was Ian who instigated the hugely successful Perth Open Championships in the 1970s, conjuring up local sponsorship as if by magic. Then for a long number of years he oversaw the Scottish National finals taking place at Perth, always with strong local Perth representation, including the particularly impressive Perth Pipe Band.

Ian was active to the end of his life in organising a spirited protest against the closing of the Bells Centre as a sports venue.

All things come to an end, and change is inevitable. Ian was replaced as Company Secretary of Badminton Scotland in 2017, in somewhat unceremonious circumstances. His contribution to sport at large in Scotland was recognised by a British Empire medal which he received in 2018.

Unpaid, tireless and committed, it is volunteers like Ian who are the lifeblood of every sport in Scotland.

Ian gave his whole life to the sport of Badminton, which was greatly enriched by his presence. We were lucky to have him.

He is survived by his wife Catherine.


Written by Ronnie Conway; Past President Scottish Badminton Union, Former Chair Badminton Scotland.