the new Lord Provost of Edinburgh has called for the capital city and the Borders to work together more closely at council level, writes Kenny Paterson.
Donald Wilson, originally from Selkirk, made the call as he was unveiled as Edinburgh’s civic leader last week.
Part of the The Borders Party’s manifesto during this month’s local elections argued that Scottish Borders Council should forge stronger links with Dumfries and Galloway and Northumberland’s authorities rather than Edinburgh.
But Mr Wilson believes the opposite is the case.
The 52-year-old told TheSouthern: “The Borders and Edinburgh should work together closely. Edinburgh is an important city and the Borders an important region to Scotland. That would definitely be a step in the right direction.”
There was no easing-in to the job for Mr Wilson, as he played a central role in one of the biggest weekend’s in Auld Reekie’s history.
The computing teacher was one of the dignitaries at Hampden Park on Saturday to see Hearts defeat its great rivals Hibs 5-1 in the first Edinburgh derby Scottish Cup final since 1896.
After presenting the Hibs players with their runners up medals and congratulating the Hearts squad, he then hosted a civic reception for the Tynecastle club in the City Chambers on Sunday before the team embarked on a open top bus parade in front of an estimated 100,000 fans.
It is a wide-ranging role and Mr Wilson says his Royal Burgh upbringing will stand him in good stead. He added: “I loved being brought up in Selkirk and it has given me a great sense of tradition, thanks to the Common Riding and events such as the Silver Arrow.
“Although I have lived in Edinburgh for a number of years, I am proud to come from Selkirk, giving me a tremendous legacy which I carry with me.”
Educated at Knowepark and Philiphaugh primary schools in Selkirk, and then Galashiels Academy, Donald is the son of George and May, both well-known characters in the town.
Brother Alan is an actor, while sister Jennifer lives in the south of England.
The Labour Party councillor said: “My father owned the bakery in Tower Street and I often am still referred to as George Wilson’s son.
“I regularly visited Selkirk to see my mum until she died two years ago, where she lived in the white cottage on Tower Street.”
As for his political aims over the coming years in office, Mr Wilson has put eco-issues top of his agenda.
Having already installed solar panels at his home and owning a hybrid car, he hopes to swap the official three-litre BMW Lord Provost’s car for a more environmental-friendly vehicle.
A former chair of the Edinburgh International Science Festival, Mr Wilson said: “I have always been aware of the importance of promoting environmental causes, and along with the hybrid car and solar panels, I also have other ‘green’ items such as a wind-up shaver.
“I am very much a science and technology person, but being brought up in Selkirk means I understand the importance of tradition.
“I think that is vital to ensuring people love the place they live in.”