A HUGELY illuminating fly-on-the-wall history of sport and community life in the Three Towns area is featured in a scrapbook of cuttings which has been re-discovered by a former top official at Ardeer Recreation Club.

Iain Maclaren was General Secretary of the Ardeer Recreation Club from 1976 until 1990.

He recalled: “I worked at the Rec as general secretary from 1976 until 1990 and I remember a gentleman bringing me in a book of cuttings about mainly sport in the area. I mislaid it in two flittings but recently found it again and spoke to the Heritage Centre about allowing them to use some of it.

“The Rec has an interesting history. It was originally bought by ICI for recreation in 1928 and there were so many sports going on, including football, cricket, boxing, rugby and squash. The idea was to help people get fit.”

There were also bar facilities which were widely used. The sports club closed in 1976, although the bowling green remains and is well supported by the community.

Match reports are fascinating and early in the book there is a cutting from the Ardrossan & Saltcoats Herald, reveals that hosts Stevenston United were beaten 4-2 by Partick Thistle in August 1914, a month after the outbreak of World War One.

A landmark result is reported for Stevenston Thistle. It came during their debut season in February 1917 when they swept aside Aberdeen Hawthorn 6-0 to reach the quarterfinals of the Scottish Junior Cup.

The book also features a presentation evening for athletic club Eglinton Harriers’ Club from April 1917.

The First World War was still in people’s minds and in the book there were details from the Herald of a Flag Day organised by Eglinton Harriers to support the Fallen Heroes Memorial Fund in January 1918.

There was such huge relief when the Great War ended in 1918 and a picture appears in the cuttings book of a Daily Record picture of the announcer at Celtic Park, proclaiming that the Germans had signed the Peace Treaty to draw a final line over the conflict.

Then the 1920 Nobel’s Sports event features in depth. One of the most famous community events, the Queen of the Sea from 1928 is documented, with that year’s Queen of the Sea Netta Duff featured.

Boxer Patrick J Small, employed in Ardrossan Shipyard, is also featured, having won the lightweight championship of Ireland. He was a member of Eglinton Harriers’ Club.

Winton Park in Ardrossan hosted a Great Athletic Gala in July, 1918, at which admission was 8d (including tax).

A fancy dress parade and football match was held by the Ardrossan, Saltcoats and Stevenston branch of the British Legion in 1924.