Friends gather to celebrate unveiling of fitting tribute to Nan Lyle

left to right Jean Dodds, Isa Douglas, Bert Armstrong, Madge Elliot and Bob Young at the unveiling of the memorial for Nan Lyle on Whitchesters Hill.
left to right Jean Dodds, Isa Douglas, Bert Armstrong, Madge Elliot and Bob Young at the unveiling of the memorial for Nan Lyle on Whitchesters Hill.

A PERMANENT memorial to the late Nan Lyle MBE has been officially opened, writes Kenny Paterson.

The toposcope – an indicator which shows points of interest pertaining to the Hawick stalwart – was unveiled on the top of Whitchesters Hill.

Nan, who was an active member of many groups in the town and throughout the region, including the Scouts and Borders Exploration Group, died in January last year.

Lindsey Knox, one of many who helped organise the tribute, said: “A group met in November 2010 to discuss what we could do in her memory – something that would celebrate her life and be useful if possible.

“Nan always said that she didn’t want any benches in the park with her name on it and Roger Hemming came up with the idea of a toposcope.”

Selkirk builder Keith Riddell volunteered to build the cairn and his son Ruairaidh, who went on a Borders Exploration Group trip with Nan, agreed to carve some sandstone blocks for round the side. Judith Murray came up with the cairn design and Lindsey drew out the top.

“With Nan’s scouting background, the committee decided on a Baden-Powell quotation for round the vertical edge,” said Lindsey.

Funding was received from the various organisations which Nan was involved in and the granite top was engraved by Alan Scott at John Beattie & Sons. The inaugural walk to unveil the cairn saw more than 140 people meet at the Moor and trek up to Whitchesters Hill.

Speeches were made by Nan’s daughter Ruth Holmes and Ron Sutherland of the Borders Exploration Group, while the cairn was unveiled by Andrew Lyle and David Holmes.

Lindsey added: “The majority of walkers then made their way to St Mary’s Church Hall for scones and cups of tea, a good blether, and a chance to watch a powerpoint presentation of some Nan photographs.”

Voluntary donations on the day amounted to £420 and this sum plus any remaining money from the initial fundraising will go to Nan’s two charities in Africa – a school in Kenya and a community hospital in Zambia, both of which she helped build as part of her Borders Exploration Group trips.