Brother Alistair McGowan Awarded MBE
Bro Alistair McGowan from The Belfast Lodge No.651 was awarded an MBE for services to Sport and Reconciliation in the 2021 New Years’ Honours list. Alistair is CEO of the RUC AA (Police Sports Association) based at Newforge Lane, Belfast.
The Sports Association has been in existence for over 90 years and currently has almost 7,000 members, providing sport and recreation for serving and retired Police Officers, Police Staff, and their families.
Having attended the 2005 World Police & Fire Games (WPFG) which were held in Québec Canada, Alistair initiated the idea to bid for the WPFG for Belfast in 2013. He subsequently led the successful bid, winning the competition for the 2013 Games ahead of eight (8) other cities around the world. He then was seconded from his role at Police Sports Association and acted as Chief Operating Officer for the Belfast Games.
The 2013 Games saw the influx of 7,000 competitors and 10,000 overseas visitors to Belfast for the 10-day event. The Belfast Games was subsequently hailed by the Games governing body, who are based in California as the most successful event they have ever held.
Returning to his role at Police Sport, Alistair worked to develop the facilities at the current complex at Newforge in Belfast. This involved using sport as a catalyst to bring the communities in Northern Ireland together. Alistair set up a new Trust to make this vision a reality and was successful in attracting almost £3m of investment funding from the Bank of Ireland and a £6m grant from the Special EU Programmes Body – Shared Space Programme. Alistair also secured a £1m grant from Sport NI Multi – Facility Fund, plus over £100k from other smaller funders to develop the facilities and the capacity of the Trust to deliver cross community sports programmes. The new facilities are currently under construction and the planned 50+ sports programmes are scheduled to commence in the summer of 2021.
Alistair commented about his inclusion in the New Year’s List “I was really surprised when I received notification of the award. When I look at the people on the list who have served our community and in particular our Health Service over the last difficult year, it is truly humbling to be recognised in this manner”.