Chris Brasher writing in the sunday observer In 1975 said of celebrity speaker George McNeill, 'The professionals came to London on Friday and made me angry. Angry because I saw the best British sprinter since McDonald Bailey and knew that this talent had been wasted. Angry because I saw one of those rare men who lift sport into the realms of art and knew that his talent is being wasted, angry because such a waste is surely a crime. McNeill, the greatest native-born sprinter I have ever seen in Britain has never been allowed to compete for his country or indeed against the best talent in Britain. He has been relegated to the small professional circuit in Scotland where, with the exception of the Powderhall Sprint, he has earned only enough to cover his expenses'.
George was born in a small mining town called Tranent which is situated around ten miles East of Edinburgh. On leaving school he studied as a Chartered Quantity Surveyor whilst at the same time playing football for Hibernian, Morton and Stirling Albion. He gave up football to concentrate more fully, on professional athletics and in 1970 started by winning the famous New Year 'Powderhall Sprint' in its Centenary year.
George's talent as a sprinter continued to develop and in 1970, at the Press Charities Sports Meeting, held for the first time on the new 'tartan track' at Meadowbank, Edinburgh he set a professional World Record for 110 metres, clocking a time of 11 seconds flat. When equated to the more popular 100 metres, this was around the 10 seconds mark.
In 1981, now in his thirties, George won the richest professional race in the world called 'The Stawell Gift' carrying a first prize of 12,000 Australian dollars together with around 40,000 dollars from the bookmakers.
On retiring from top class competition, George became sprint and conditioning coach to the Hearts football club in Edinburgh. However, he still managed to compete, on occasions, in Veterans Athletics and has won British titles at 100 and 200 metres.
For the past 20 years or so, George has helped run his family building business in the east of Scotland but makes time for his main sporting passion, golf.
As a frequent guest at numerous dinners, George found he had a talent for after dinner speaking and has now become one of the most popuar speakers on the circuit. He is a superb speaker with great comic timing and a marvellous collection of hilarious anecdotes, covering a wide range of topics.
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