TOP BBC sports presenter Hazel Irvine from Cardross makes regular trips home to see the family — when she is not presenting coverage of top golf tournaments.
The St Andrews-born former Hermitage Academy pupil, whose parents still live in the village and who once took part in Helensburgh's Ne'erday Swim, is one of BBC Sport’s most experienced and versatile broadcasters.
A regular presenter of Grandstand, Sunday Grandstand and Ski Sunday, the glamorous 50 year-old is also the face of snooker and athletics coverage and as fronted the sports section on BBC News.
When the Barclays Scottish Open golf tournament was played at Luss she had a busy schedule with boat trips, historical tours and celebrity meetings planned — all on camera, of course, to do the beautiful surroundings justice.
An integral part of the BBC’s coverage of all major events over the past 25 years, Hazel presented from Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012, marking her seventh consecutive Olympic Games as a broadcaster.
She has also worked on every Winter Olympics and Commonwealth Games since 1994 — and reported from the football World Cup Finals and European Championship finals since 1990.
In golf, she is the anchor for the Women’s Open and reports on the Open, the Ryder Cup and the Solheim Cup. Hazel’s many other credits include Final Score, Football Focus and Wimbledon.
She particularly enjoys presenting the Open from St Andrews, the home of golf. “St Andrews is a place very close to my heart as I was born there and returned to study at Scotland’s oldest university," she said. "It’s always wonderful to go back.”
In addition to her role at BBC Sport, Hazel hosted the coverage of the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings in 2004, the Children In Need appeal for BBC Scotland, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, and anchored its Millennium Night coverage. She was the winner of the Royal Television Society Award for Best Regional Presenter/Reporter in 1999.
She has presented TV magazine series such as BBC 2’s aviation programme “The Air Show”, health and wellbeing series “Feeling Good”, and the leisure series “Outside Now”, and has enjoyed making guest appearances on programmes such as “They Think It’s All Over” and “Call My Bluff”.
She has also worked for ITV Sport, Channel 4, TWI, Radio 5 Live, Radio Scotland and Radio Clyde, acted as compere at numerous awards ceremonies, and is in demand as an after-dinner speaker.
Hazel gained an MA Honours degree in Art History. In 2008 she married her long-term partner, and they have a six-year-old daughter Gina.
She has representative honours in golf — and, like her father, is a member of the Cardross club — netball and athletics, and gained a full vest for athletics from Scottish Universities. Currently she is the chairman of the West of Scotland Institute of Sport.
She even took part in Helensburgh's annual New Year's Day Swim from the pier when she was 16.
A proud supporter of Dumbarton Football Club for many years, she is a member of the Sons Supporters Trust and gladly assisted in testimonial fund raising for kit man the late Dick Jackson and in 2006 for long-serving full back Craig Brittain. She was also honorary president of the now defunct Dumbarton FC Supporters Association.
She considers herself to be an enthusiastic, if average, piano player, an impatient cook, a keen swimmer, a hater of litter, and a fan of Tunnock’s caramel wafers.
Asked for her proudest moment, she replied: “Anchoring the Open Championship for the first time at St Andrews.
“We had a studio that was based at the 17th green, looking back at my old hall of residence. It was as if all the parts of my life had converged.”
- Photo by Donald Fullarton