Selkirk’s medicine man Ron calling it a day

Ron Robertson.
Ron Robertson.

One of the Borders’ longest-serving pharmacists is retiring at the end of the month after 35 years of dispensing medicines in Selkirk.

Ron Robertson has served two generations of Souters from over the counter of Alexander Weir’s chemist in High Street.

Originally from Wick in Caithness, Ron, 62, studied at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh from 1972, qualifying in 1977.

From there, he trained in the late-night Boots chemist in Shandwick Place in Edinburgh, later moving to Selkirk, in 1982. Here he became a partner in what was then Borthwick and Weir.

Ron and his wife Rosemary, a retired child protection officer, made the Borders their home, raising their children Rebecca and Innes in the town and quickly getting involved in its traditions, with Ron carrying the Merchant Company flag during the common riding of 2004.

“The Borders is hard to beat,” he said. “I first worked here as a relief manager in Hawick, and I thought if I ever got a job in the Borders, that would be great, and lo and behold, five years later, I ended up here.

“One of the biggest things about the Borders that is unique is that people can travel 50 miles from one part to the other and still know somebody, and I like that.”

Since 1982, he has borne witness to many changes in the industry.

“Things have changed dramatically,” he said. “In the old days, it was more community-based. There was no NHS 24

“It wasn’t unusual for Dr Bill Fiddes to phone about half-five saying ‘hold the front page, there’s somebody needing a script’.

“There is lots more bureaucracy now which was never there before. It’s good and bad.”

With a small national chain set to take over the business at the end of the month, Ron is assured that the shop is in safe hands.

He said: “I was keen that I found someone that fitted the company going ahead.

“They are very ethical and held in high esteem in the pharmaceutical world.

“I have been given every assurance that the hours and staff will stay the same.”

Come his retirement, he plans to spend more time with his two grandchildren, Harry and Mac, as well as cycling, golfing, bowling and travelling.

“I no longer have any excuse not to do all these things I’ve been wanting to do and putting off,” he said.