A NEW online forum and archive for Hawick and the surrounding area could be expanded in the future to encompass the entire Borders if it proves a success.
More than 100 of the town’s organisations have been invited to take part in ‘Project Hawick’.
Set up by exiled Teri, Alastair Redpath – who now lives in Glasgow – and joined by five friends, the project has already seen its membership swell by 20 in the space of the week since its launch.
Mr Redpath explained: “We are a group of amateur photographers, historians and archivists that believe there is no collective online forum for the communities of Hawick and the surrounding area.
“We began earlier this month, after being inspired by a similar project in Glasgow called ‘Urban Glasgow,’ of which some of us are also members.
“It is our aim to collect, record and discuss every aspect of life in Hawick and allow people in the community and further afield to contribute their memories and photos to the site, in a similar vein to the BBC’s Doomsday Project of 1986.”
Mr Redpath says the group is currently in talks to secure the exclusive rights to the domain name, www.projecthawick.com, but until then can be found at the domain http://projecthawick.forumatic.com
The group’s initial crop of topics went live last week, featuring Burnfoot housing estate, Galalaw, Hornshole, Wilton Mills and Lynwood.
Mr Redpath added: “We encourage anyone interested in our story or projects to contact us. Project Hawick accepts new members and people can register for free and post any photos, memories or relevant information in any one of our numerous threads and topics.
And Mr Redpath says, if Project Hawick proves popular over the next few years, it might be extended to cover the entire Borders.
“Lots of older people now have access to computers and the internet at home, and being able to submit their photos and memories directly from home, rather than having to trudge along to the Heritage Hub in Hawick and physically hand them in, should make things easier and, hopefully, encourage more people to do so.
“We’ve started off focusing on Hawick and the surrounding area, but ideally over the next four or five years, we might look to widen it out to take in the rest of the Borders.
“We want to get people discussing topics related to Hawick. Get their memories and photos coming in and create an online history archive.” Mr Redpath says the group is also exploring the possibility of people being able to submit videos to the site.
“Lots of people will have old video footage of Hawick and things happening in the town, and it would be great to be able to include that, but we don’t have the equipment yet for that.
“At the end of the day, the risk is that a lot of these memories and recollections which people have will be lost if there isn’t a forum like this.
“We need to make sure we save all of this for future generations.”