It was a day of celebration as Hawick Flood Group members and supporters met to mark the culmination of a nine-year journey.
The group of volunteers was formed in October 2007 in response to serious flooding in the town two years earlier.
Its aim was to react in the event of a flood warning and check on and assist people already identified as vulnerable, along with the general public, until there was either an all-clear or actual flooding, at which latter point the group would pass on responsibility to the emergency services.
Members met for a public open day at the group’s newly-refurbished headquarters in a portable cabin beside Teviotdale Leisure Centre on Saturday.
The work has been paid for with £20,000 raised by the group with support from the people and businesses of Hawick.
Saturday’s event was a chance for the group and look forward to the challenges of the next five years, in particular the implementation of the town’s £35m flood protection scheme, the success of which will be vital in ensuring the safety of townsfolk and their properties for decades to come.
Group chairman Stuart Marshall, also the town’s honorary provost and a councillor for Hawick and Denholm, said: “The entire event was a huge success, and the flood group was delighted that so many of those who donated to our appeal fund came along to see first hand some of the vital equipment that we have managed to purchase because of their generosity.
“Some of the items purchased include the new portable cabin, which we as a group can now operate from when the alarm call goes off.
“This cabin is now equipped with a quiet room, which will make a big difference in how we actually communicate with all the emergency services during a flooding event.”
Additionally, 19 volunteers now have their own warm waterproof clothing, including new boots, gloves and hats.
New radios have been bought too, and in the coming weeks, the plan is to update computer equipment to allow members to update and store all the addresses of those that require assistance.
Mr Marshall added: “We at the flood group can’t thank enough the public and businesses, not only from Hawick but from right across the country, who rallied to our call and, by doing so, have secured the future of this terrific band of volunteers who will be required to assist our community for the next five years or so until the £36m flood protection scheme for our town is fully operational.”
Another of the 70 or so attendees at Saturday’s event, Peter Croan, of Rotary International, added: “The sun shone, and those who came along witnessed community volunteers that have put service before self.
“I was very humbled at the tremendous work that they have all achieved, and the event on Saturday celebrated all the work of the Hawick Flood Group community volunteers and support of its sponsors.
“Rotary is very proud to be associated with the work they are all doing for the community. Well done to all.
“The hut looks fantastic and will prove a great asset should it ever be needed. Hopefully, however, it won’t, but its very presence will give the community some reassurance from the work of the volunteers monitoring any future threat.”
Anyone wishing to register for help from the group can email smarshall@scotborders. gov.uk