Blues and Colours Gallery Unveiled at the Pleasance

To mark the 100 year anniversary of the first Blue awarded in 1923 a new Gallery, celebrating every student to receive Blues or Colours, has been installed at the University’s Pleasance Sports Complex and Gym.

Celebrating 100 years of Blues

2023 marks the 100th anniversary of the first ever Blue, which was awarded to J.J.B Martin for Men’s Hockey in 1923. Subsequently, more than 7000 Blues and Half Blues and over 1500 Colours have been award to University of Edinburgh students.

On Tuesday 20 June the Gallery, which recognises every individual (that the Sports Union has a record of) to be awarded a Blue, Half-Blue or Colour across 117 honour boards, was officially unveiled by Professor Jeremy Crang, Dean of Students, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Rugby Blue recipient in 1989 and Cecilia Bosman, Colours recipient in 2021 for services to the Sports Union. Professor Crang and Cecilia were joined by Mark Munro, Director of Sport & Active Health at the University of Edinburgh and Heather Gault, Edinburgh University Sports Union President, a Colour awardee in 2020.

Cecilia Bosman and Jeremy Crang cutting ribbon at the opening of the Blues and Colours gallery in pleasance


Awarded for outstanding sporting performance

Awarded by the Sports Union to the University’s top athletes and those who have performed to a consistently high level for their University Club. They are notoriously difficult to acquire and are only available to those at the very top of their sport. Full Blues are awarded for National standard representation and Half Blues for Sub-National standard representation. These awards are the most prestigious that can be received by an Edinburgh University athlete.

Jeremy Crang posing with 1988-89 Blues board with Mark Monro and Heather Gault


Awarded for outstanding service to the administration of student clubs

Awarded for services to and dedication to University Sport and to University Sports Clubs. Colours reward those individuals who have given time and effort above and beyond the call of duty to their chosen sport or Club.  University Sport could not operate without these volunteers organising and co-ordinating Clubs and the Colours award recognises this endeavour.

Image of Mark Monroe, Cecilia Bosman and Heather Gault standing at Cecilia's Blues and Colours Board in the gallery

Extraordinary success

Notable recipients of Blues, Half Blues and Colours include University of Edinburgh Sports Hall of Fame Inductees:

Hollie Davidson

Hollie was a dedicated member of the Edinburgh University Ladies Rugby Club, serving as Club Vice-Captain in 2011-12 and Club Captain twice, in 2012-13 and 2013-14. Her commitment and diligence was recognised with a Ladies Rugby Half-Blue in 2012 and Colour in 2014. Hollie is a pioneering and inspirational role model who became Scottish Rugby’s first full-time female professional referee in 2017. Since then, she has officiated at the very highest level of the game including the Olympic and Commonwealth Games.

Claire Maxwell

Claire is an inspirational figure both on and off the Netball court and has earned over 100 caps for Scotland. A former first team captain of Edinburgh University Netball Club and Individual Performance Programme athlete, Claire was awarded her University Blue for Netball in 2007. Claire was selected for Scottish Universities, British Universities, Scotland U17s, U19s, and U21s, before gaining her first senior Scottish Thistles Cap in 2009.

Dame Katherine Grainger

Katherine Grainger is Great Britain’s most successful female Rower and multiple medal winner at World Championships and two Olympics Games. Katherine only took up Rowing while at University and she made remarkable progress going on to win the prestigious Female Athlete of the Year award on two occasions, in 1995-96 and 1996-97, which is a unique achievement. She also received a University Half Blue for Rowing in 1996 and subsequently Blue and Colour for Rowing in 1997.

Alumni Support

The Gallery project was supported by the Sports Union Alumni Fund and celebrates Edinburgh athletes and volunteers past and present. The Sports Union and its 70 sports clubs appreciate the support from all alumni and donors who have engaged with the Sports Union over the years. 

Open to everybody

We welcome Edinburgh alumni and their families to come visit the new gallery. 

Related information