Supporters say Ogilvie’s work should be part of curriculum

Will Ogilvie
Will Ogilvie
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ORGANISERS of an evening celebrating one of the Borders most respected poets believe his work should be taught in the region’s schools.

Eckford Village Hall will host A Night Wi’ Will on November 23 and 24, as the works of Kelso’s Will Ogilvie are recited.

Despite passing away almost 50 years ago, Ogilvie’s poems remain popular, with last year’s show a sell out.

The main piece of this year’s performances is Whaup O’ The Rede.

Sheila Campbell, chairperson of Eckford Village Hall Trust who will also recited on both nights, said: “The poem is written in the Border Ballad tradition and is based loosely on events in the region during the 16th century concerning the Scotts of Harden.

“It features all the usual ingredients of the ballad tradition – reiving, murder, family disputes, the Borderland, a love interest and, as in all good stories, has a happy ending.”

She added: “The aim of the organisers is to ensure that Will Ogilvie’s work is recognised for its quality and for its local connections and it is hoped that some of the local schools may strongly consider including some of Will Ogilvie’s work in their teachings.”

Alongside Ms Campbell, will be fellow, well known, performers Irene and Jim Chisholm, Ronnie Fleming and Dave Grant.

Ogilvie was born in 1869 at Holefield, near Kelso, and as a young man spent 12 years in the Australian outback.

He returned to Scotland in 1901 and wrote a series of stirring poems about his home region, including The Raiders and The Hill Road to Roberton – the title of the latter piece being the location for a cairn unveiled in 1993 in his name.

Funds from the evening will go to the Will Ogilvie Memorial Committee and its chairman Ian Landles added: “I am very keen to support the great work being done in Eckford to popularise the work of Will Ogilvie.”

A DVD of the recitation will be given out free to audience members, while a CD of the performance – including a further six Ogilvie poems – is also available.

A meal will also be offered to the crowd with the menu inspired by the reivers.

Organiser Norman Fraser said: “We anticipate a great night. We have already sold more tickets than we had for our one evening last year but we still have some left for the two nights.”

A Night Wi’ Will starts at 7.30pm on both nights, with doors opening at 7pm.

Tickets cost £15 and can be bought from Norman Fraser (01835 850213) or Charlie Robertson (01835 850203).