Vicky bows out after 14 years of service

Councillor Vicky Davidson in her role as executive member for culture, sport, youth and communities.
Councillor Vicky Davidson in her role as executive member for culture, sport, youth and communities.

After 14 years representing Souters on Scottish Borders Council, one of the town’s best known faces is preparing for the end of her political career this month.

Vicky Davidson, a Scottish Liberal Democrat councillors for the last three terms, is not standing for re-election at next month’s election, and this week she reflected upon her time as councillor in a blether with the Wee Paper.

A jubillant  councillor Vicky Davidson and Viv Ross back when Selkirk was awarded �750,000 from Historic Scotland.

A jubillant councillor Vicky Davidson and Viv Ross back when Selkirk was awarded �750,000 from Historic Scotland.

Mrs Davidson, 53, was a pupil at Kirkhope Primary School and Selkirk High School before moving away to study politics at university.

She then spent 10 years based between Edinburgh and Glasgow working as a radio producer for the BBC, as well as being involved on with the John Beattie sports weekly programme when it was first launched in 1998.

After that, her life came almost full circle as she moved back to the valleys where she grew up in 2001 and took up a role in politics 2003.

She said: “In my first term, the Liberals were in opposition, so I chaired the scrutiny working group looking at the service we provided to businesses in the Borders.

“We did the biggest ever survey of its kind, sending questionnaires to every business in the region, and there has been quite a lot of change introduced because of that.”

Re-elected in 2007, Mrs Davidson took on the role of executive member for economic development as the Liberals formed part of the administration.

“We brought about a lot of change in this time,” she said.

“We brought the Tour of Britain to the Borders and did the big homecoming event.

“We set up the shopfront improvement scheme, changed our contract with Business Gateway to provide better support for businesses and introduced fast tracking for planning applications for businesses. The business grant scheme was one of the best things we did.”

In her final term, Mrs Davidson served as executive member for culture, sport and community learning.

“It was a different challenge, but I had a lot of experience and knowledge about sport from working in sports radio, and I have always been interest in the arts,” she said.

“We produced a cultural strategy for the Borders which highlighted the wealth of arts practitioners and events we have got going on here, which in some ways is not recognised enough.”

She added: “I think I have been a voice for local development on the council.

“I introduced rural proofing and saw myself as a champion for rural affairs.”

Closer to home, she named her proudest achievements as helping to bring about the new synthetic pitch at Selkirk High School and the swimming pool’s refurbishments.

She still hopes to see the Selkirk bypass created one day.

In a somewhat fitting coincidence, she recalls being thrown in at the deep end when her ward, Bannerfield, Selkirkshire being split into three wards at the time, was badly flooded just after she became a councillor.

She said: “It was the biggest disaster to strike at the time as I newly took up the position.

“I’ve since been involved with the Selkirk flood protection scheme throughout and was delighted to see if opened this year as my time on the council comes to an end.

“I think there’s a bit of synergy in that.”

Mrs Davidson will continue to work part time for the Ettrick and Yarrow Community Development Company, which she helped set up five years ago, and will also keep up her work with the Black Bob and the Auld Kirk heritage groups.

She added: “I will have a lot of things to do, and I think I will be able to do a lot outwith the council.

“I would like to thank all the people of Selkirkshire for all the support they have given me over the years.

“I have had some nice letters from people which have been really kind.”