Students strutting their stuff in Selkirk

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It was a pleasure to attend Selkirk High School’s fashion show at the end of last month.

Throughout the year the students involved have been working towards the event by up-cycling clothes to fit in with the chosen themes. Their preparation also included a trip to the Clothes Show Live in Birmingham, and it clearly inspired many of them as there was a complete array of different design ideas. Both designers and models did incredibly well, and they should rightly be proud of the show that they put on.

RBS CLOSURES

I recently met senior management from RBS to discuss the decision to close three branches in the Borders – Chirnside, Greenlaw and Newtown St Boswells – in June.

I stressed how much these branches are cherished by the customers who live in and around these communities. While it would obviously be preferable to keep all of the branches open, if they are to close then RBS needs to ensure that their customers do not experience a drop-off in service. Businesses and vulnerable customers need to be consulted about what alternatives will be agreed so that any new arrangements suit them.

It is also vital that if mobile banking vans are to be used, they serve not only the communities with branches shutting down, but also the surrounding areas where customers are based.

HEADWAY

I was pleased to support the Headway bacon butty morning held in Kelso – it is a great charity that supports those affected by brain injury and their carers.

It helps people understand more about brain injuries, and offers free information on the effects they can have and what can be done to help.

I know the charity does much great work in the Borders and it was great to get the chance to speak to some of the people they’ve helped at the bacon butty morning.

FARM INCOMES

I was concerned to read recent Scottish Government statistics showing that Scottish farm incomes dropped by 34 per cent in 2012.

They prove how tough a time it has been for our farmers. Not only are many of them faced with increased running costs, but they are also having to deal with drops in the value of the crops and livestock that they are producing.

They have had a tough enough time as it is without these extra hurdles, and I know many will be worried about the future viability of their farms.

Agriculture is a vital industry in regions such as ours, not only providing a lot of local jobs, but also affecting the vast majority of the landscape in the area. We cannot afford to see any farmers go out of business and it is imperative that the Scottish Government does all it can to support them.