THE weekend should have seen the parks packed for the 164th Famous Alva Games with organisers vowing to bring the popular Hillfoots event back in 2021.

While it was not possible to bring people together for the usual day of traditional competitions due to coronavirus restrictions, games chiefs were at the Johnstone and Cochrane Parks on Saturday, July 11, for a "non-opening ceremony".

Clackmannnanshire's Lord Lieutenant Johnny Stewart, honorary life chairman Ken McCaffrey, chairman James Sharp, treasurer John Glencross attended along with committee members Euan MacPherson, William Richardson and Ryan Martin on Saturday, July 11.

The committee's Craig Dunbar was on hand to film the occasion with the footage available on the Alva Games Facebook page.

All kept a safe distance with special thanks to young Kyle Rees for providing the musical backdrop on his pipes.

On the day, Mr Sharp – accompanied by his wife Joyce – said: "At this time, the park should be alive with foot racers, highland dancers and heavyweight athletes taking part in their respective events with Craig's [Mr Dunbar] voice booming out over the arena.

"I'm sure I speak on behalf of the entire committee when I say that we are doing our utmost to ensure that next year's games are bigger and better than ever."

Honorary life chair Mr McCaffrey, who in last week's letter to the editor highlighted this was the first occasion in peacetime that there would be no games, is looking forward to next year with enthusiasm.

He said: "We look forward to making next year the best we can.

"I would like to personally thank all the committee who work so hard behind the scenes and the people in the Alva community for all their help and support during the year.

"I look forward to a lovely July day in 2021."

Lord Lieutenant Stewart also donated a cheque to Alva Development Trust on behalf of the games committee.

He said: "They are a wonderful organisation and a treasure to Alva."

Mr Stewart added: "I assumed, wrongly, that they looked after the families that are unable to feed their children just five days a week.

"Absolutely not, it's every day of the week and they do a wonderful job.

"Well done to them and to the volunteers that help them.

"Thank you so much for all you do for Alva and the local villages."

The trust's team, the Food Bank Gang, also scooped a prize in the annual games quiz, held online this year.

Following the non-opening ceremony Alva athletes Derek McNeil and Ronnie Pollock were joined by a few others to run to the top of Torry with a banner, spreading a message of hope that the Famous Alva Games will be back in 2021.