his long involvement with two of the biggest visitor draws in the Borders, the River Tweed and Abbotsford House, saw Andrew Douglas-Home honoured with an OBE in this week’s New Year’s honours list.
Mr Douglas-Home, pictured, from Coldstream, has been recognised for his three decades’ service with the River Tweed Commissioners – from which he recently stood down as chairman after eight years – together with the Tweed Foundation, as well as his role with the Abbotsford Trust.
Describing the three bodies as “fantastic organisations”, Mr Douglas-Home said it had come as a complete surprise when he received notification of the honour.
“And I am delighted as hopefully the publicity it generates will help highlight the tremendous work these organisations and their staff do. They are organisations very much driven by team effort.”
He remains a commissioner and has seen much change along the river since 1983, when he first joined.
“Things are now a lot better for the Tweed – I think it is now the best salmon river in the UK and, in my opinion, the best Atlantic salmon river anywhere.
“I am very honoured to receive this award, but the success of these organisations that look after the Tweed are due to their staff; people like Tweed Foundation director Nick Yonge and his colleagues, and it is their efforts that have made the management of the Tweed the envy of all river organisations.”
With his other hat on as a trustee of the Abbotsford Trust, Mr Douglas-Home is involved with the multi-million pound renovation project currently underway at Abbotsford House former home of the novelist, Sir Walter Scott.
Mr Douglas-Home was one of the three executors of the estate of the late Dame Jean Maxwell-Scott, who along with her sister, the late Mrs Patricia Maxwell-Scott, were direct descendants of the novelist, and had looked after the great house for more than half a century.
“Dame Jean’s will was discretionary in that she left it up to the executors to decide what should be done with the house,” he explained.
“She and her sister had looked after the house amazingly well for 54 years. I was the link between the family and the trust and the renovation project has been very much a team effort also.
“So I don’t know why I have been picked out to be honoured in this way, except perhaps as I was one of the ‘first on the scene’ as it were.
“Nevertheless I am very pleased, if slightly embarrassed.”