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MSP John Lamont meets the Hawick Royal Mail
MSP John Lamont meets the Hawick Royal Mail

Local MSP John Lamont called at the Hawick Royal Mail delivery office last Thursday to wish the staff luck ahead of the Christmas rush.

He said: “It’s a really busy time of year for the staff at Hawick delivery office and as the largest town in my constituency, the team have a huge volume of letters and parcels to deliver. I was pleased to be able to thank them all for their hard work, not only at Christmas, but throughout the year. At this time of year, while many of us are able to enjoy ourselves, the Royal Mail staff will be working flat out to make sure presents and cards arrive on time. Without them, the festive period simply wouldn’t be the same.”

DISTRICT NEWS

BONCHESTER

Quiz

A quiz and raffle in aid of Rulewater Carpet Bowling Club will be held on Wednesday, December 28, at 8pm in the Horse and Hound.

BOWDEN

Watchnight service

A watchnight service will be held in the village kirk at 11.15pm on Christmas Eve.

CADDONFOOT

Parish church

Bible study continued this week at Sharon Hume’s house in Clovenfords. The Christmas Eve candlelit watchnight service starts at 11pm. There will be a retiring collection for the Oasis charity which works with with child refugees in this country. There will be a joint Christmas Day service in Trinity Church at 10.30am, but no service in Caddonfoot. Children are invited to bring a present. Members are reminded that Christmas cards, showing the painting of the church by Catherine Bird, and calendars, produced by Selkirk High School charities’ committee, are still available. Cash for the cards goes towards the stained-glass window appeal and from the calendars to Cancer Research UK and the Sick Kids’ Friends Foundation.

CANONBIE

Coffee morning

The community cafe held a Christmas celebration which raised £240 for Save the Children. Home baking and mulled wine was served by Elizabeth Mitchell and Lauren Ferris, and the small, individually gift-wrapped Christmas cakes proved popular. Loraine Frew, of the district residents’ association, which runs the cafe, said customers had been encouraged to wear their most festive Christmas jumper, and the prize went to the youngest – one-year-old Thomas Little, of Harelaw. The cafe also sold Isobel Smith’s Beenie Babies for the charity. The cafe will be open as usual over the festive season, with the exception of Boxing Day.

DENHOLM

Minto SWI

The final meeting of the year saw 16 members meeting in the Cross Keys, Denholm, for Christmas lunch, followed by games. The secret Santa was full of original offerings and the fancy Christmas hat competition produced some original creations – 1, Dee Baxter; 2, Mary Beck; 3, Sheila Marshall; 4, Janice Palmer. Several members contributed to the bakery stall at the Denholm school Christmas fair. The next meeting will be in Denholm village hall at 7pm on Wednesday, January 11, when two members talk about their adventures Down Under. In 2017 members will be celebrating the 100th year of the foundation of the SWRI, now known as the SWI, and there will be a special day on Denholm Green to mark this.

EARLSTON

SWI

The December meeting was a Christmas lunch in the Black Bull Hotel, Lauder, followed by members receiving a secret Santa gift. Competition – best-wrapped gift – 1, Julie Rennick; 2, Betty Turnbull. The next meeting will be in Hanover Close, featuring a slide show.

Camera club

Members Adam and Linsey Drummond stepped in to give a presentation on their safari trip to South Africa last year when the scheduled speaker could not attend the latest meeting. Competition – ‘Reflections’ – print – 1, Stephen Morris; 2, Allan Drummond; 3, Adam Drummond; digital – 1, Stephen Morris; 2, Curtis Welsh; 3, Allan Drummond. At the previous meeting, Keith Thorburn LRPS gave a presentation on his favourite images, with many landscape photographs from around the Edinburgh and Glencoe areas in his selection. He then judged the competition, titled ‘Patterns’ – print – 1, Allan Drummond; 2, Linsey Drummond; 3, Curtis Welsh; digital – 1, Allan Drummond; 2, Curtis Welsh; 3, Linsey Drummond. The next meeting is on January 11 when members are invited to present a short selection of their own images.

Parish church

On Christmas Eve there is a family service at 6.30pm during which The Grumpy Shepherd makes an appearance. A few hours later, at 11.15pm, there is the traditional watchnight service. Christmas Day at 10.15am sees the presents and praise service – bring along a gift and wear a Christmas jumper if you have one. Sunday, January 1 – lessons and carols service with holy communion.

GALASHIELS

Camera club

Last Wednesday was results night for the ‘Patterns in Architecture’ club competition. The images were judged by Dr Richard Bingham ARPS EFIAP of Edinburgh Photographic Society. Of the 29 DPIs and 24 prints submitted, the results were – beginner DPIs – 1, Lisa Kerr; 2, Lisa Kerr; 3, Lisa Kerr; beginner prints – 1, Lisa Kerr; standard member DPIs – 1, Gordon Swalwell; 2, Gordon Swalwell; 3, David Usher; standard member prints – 1, Ford Renton; 2, Paul Anderson; 3, Ford Renton. The final meeting of the year was held last night and the first of 2017 is on Wednesday, January 11 – a quiz evening hosted by Ford Renton.

St Peter’s Church

On Christmas Eve at 6pm, a christingle service will be held, followed by, at 8.30pm, communion. A Christmas Day family service begins at 10.30am, with a soup ‘n’ pud lunch at 12.30pm – helpers welcome. New Year’s Day sees at family service at 10.30am.

Trinity Church

It was another busy Sunday, with the family service in the morning and Christmas show in the afternoon. The Reverend Elspeth Harley conducted the service, Dorothy Howden led the music and Audrey Leishman read the Bible lessons. The Advent candles were lit by three youngsters while the choir sang an introit. Making use of the new audio visual system, in between singing hymns, the congregation saw different aspects of The Innkeeper’s Story on screen. The innkeeper’s wife was played by Elspeth in appropriate attire. The show, ‘Is Christmas Pointless?’, was based on the TV quiz programme, Pointless. More than £400 was raised for church funds. The Burgh School Christmas service is on Thursday, December 22, at 9.15am. Then on Christmas Eve there will be a christingle service at 6pm, with the watchnight service being held at Caddonfoot Church from 11pm. There will also be a joint Christmas Day service in Trinity at 10.30am, and any children attending are invited to bring along a present to show.

GLENDOUGLAS

Whist drive

Ladies – 1, Chrissy Paterson; 2, Joan Kyle; 3, Jenny Blakie; booby, Rose Cameron; gents – 1, Marion Tompson; 2, Christine Gibson; 3, Ralph Ramskir; booby, Sheila Nelson.

Lunch club

The latest lunch club gathring was enjoyed by all, with a wide range of soups with treats to follow.

Floral art

A floral art demonstration and workshop was enjoyed by all, with a helping hand from Gale of Border Blooms.Tea/coffee and mince pies were served.

Party

Old-time dancing party night is on Thursday, December 22, at 7.30pm with Gordon Brown. Bring and share supper.

GORDON

Service

There is a Christmas Day service in the village church at 11am.

HAWICK

Rotary club

Thursday’s meeting was the last at Thorterdykes Roadhouse because of its impending closure. Gus Neilson said the film night realised £260.07 for Rotary project End Polio Now. Kerr Scott gained approval for a £50 donation to the Heart of Hawick Children’s Book Award. Members travel to Langholm on January 5 for the traditional first-foot visit to the local Rotary club, and the next meeting at Hawick will be on January 12.

HEITON

SWI

Members had a Christmas party, with games and a supper provided by the committee. Competition – Christmas table decoration, using a candle and foliage only – 1, Hazel Nisbet; 2, Joan Little; 3, Brenda Wright. President Gill Harrop showed the salver won by the rural for coming first in the federation competition for best syllabus.

INNERLEITHEN

Countdown Club

The Countdown Club meets on Wednesday, December 28, in Innerleithen Church Hall of Friendship at 10.30am.

JEDBURGH

Bridge club

Results from December 12 – N/S – 1, V. Johnstone & M. Miller; 2, M. Purdie & O. Whillans; 3, M. Weightman & H. Long; E/W – 1, M. Ouldcott & R. Oates; 2, D. Cessford & D. Gray; 3, C. Taylor & Y. Sharrat.

Old and Trinity Church

On Christmas Eve, there will be a carol service at 6pm and another service at 11.15pm to bring in Christmas Day. On Christmas Day, a service will be held at 11am.

KELSO

Bridge club

December 15– Calchou Cup-6 – 1, Dominic & Diana Alkin; 2, Jean McLaren & Ken Ross; 3, Helenor Pratt & Pauline Smart; 4, Annie Mitchell & John Loudon; 5, Bob Stevenson & Lee Leeson; 6 (equal), Rena Stewart & Maureen Weightman, Vanessa Wilson & Val Johnstone.

LANGHOLM

Card competition

Lewis Mackenzie, aged nine, received an early Christmas present when he showed the winning design in MP David Mundell’s Christmas card competition in Dumfriesshire. His entry was selected by Annan Athletic Football Club players. Mr Mundell, along with his son Oliver, who is Dumfrieshire MSP, arrived at the primary school to present a bike to Lewis. There were a total of 347 entries.

Park

The next stage of the redevelopment of Buccleuch Park is a fully-costed detailed plan. Ian MacGregor, who chaired the community council sub-committee, was pleased with the response from members of the public who went to open sessions and the display of plans at a coffee morning. There had been numerous conversations and 228 applications had been completed. The design will be put out to tender, then the money will need to be raised and work carried out. It will be a mixture of local fundraising and applications to local trusts and major fundraisers.

LAUDER

Guild

The January meeting of Channelkirk and Lauder Church Guild will be on Wednesday, 11th, and not the 4th. This is a Songs of Praise afternoon.

Church

The Burns supper will be held on Friday, January 20, in The Lodge, Carfraemill, with tickets available from early January from Ian Brotherston (722469). The Christmas Eve family service starts at 6.30pm in Channelkirk Church, with the watchnight one at 11.30pm in Lauder Church (carol singing from 11pm). There will be 10.30am services on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day at Lauder Church and Oxton Memorial Hall respectively.

Choir

Lauderdale Community Choir weekly rehearsals take place on Thursdays (7.30-9pm) at Lauder Public Hall. For more information, visit www.lauderdalechoir.org.uk

MELROSE

Historical association

In a change to the advertised Melrose Historical and Archaeological Association (MHAA) programme, members and friends were treated to a tale by Isobel Gordon, the story of Robert Fortune – plant hunter, adventurer and spy. Born in humble circumstances at Edrom, Berwickshire, in 1812, Fortune acquired a deep knowledge of botany and at the age of 30 obtained an appointment with the Horticultural Society in Chiswick, London. He was sent by the society on a plant-hunting expedition to China in 1843 immediately after the First Opium War, at a time when foreigners were restricted to the vicinity of the Treaty Ports. Fortune overcame this by dressing and shaving his head in Chinese style, pretending to be a visitor from a distant province. He was able to collect and ship home a vast array of plants hitherto unseen in Europe. He published an account of his adventures which became an immediate best-seller. In 1848, Fortune returned to China, this time on behalf of the East India Company, specifically to acquire tea plants. Several thousand plants were smuggled out of China to India to start the industry of tea planting in Assam. The next MHAA meeting will be on Tuesday, January 17, when Tom Turple will talk about St Cuthbert and the Scots.

Rotary

Melrose Rotarians held their Christmas dinner in the Kings Arms Hotel last Thursday. President Sylvia Grundy commented on the Christmas parade when more than 200 people attended, including 55-plus children, and who went on to enjoy carol singing around the Christmas tree, led by St Boswells Concert Band and Langlee Community Choir. The highlight for the children was the arrival of Santa. The Christmas window competition had the highest-ever number of entrants and the winners were Sarah Thomson, The Fabric Shop and Apples for Jam. This rounded off a busy year for the club with various new initiatives, including over £500 invested in business projects in the third world through Lend with Care. Recent donations were acknowledged by various charities, including the purchase of five winter survival kits for child refugees and £500 to Water Aid. The Christmas raffle was drawn and the winner of the £200 first prize was Sheila Mark, Melrose. Second prize of £100 went to Gillian Todd, also Melrose. All proceeds from the raffle support local community initiatives, including the Christmas parade and the Rotary club’s work with local schools. Members took part in the annual carol singing at Priorwood Court, and the residents were treated not only to refreshments, but also a visit from Santa and his elf who distributed presents.

Parish church

Services – Thursday, December 22 – 9.30am, Melrose PS; Christmas Eve – 6pm, family christingle; 11.15pm, watchnight (Bowden); 11.15pm, lessons and carols (Melrose); Christmas Day – 9.30am (Bowden); 11am (Melrose). The kirk session meets on Thursday, January 12, at 7.30pm, with a sole nominee service on Sunday, January 15 at 11am.

Trimontium

Dr John Reid, Trimontium Trust chairman, appeared on BBC4 on Tuesday, December 13, with Dr Alice Roberts on ‘Digging for Britain’ to show the Burnswark excavation ‘daily camera diary’. Of all the excavation presenters, Dr Reid was the only one in the James Curle tradition, of ‘the gifted amateur’, the rest being professionals. The next hurdle to jump is the Current Archaeology Conference Research Prize Award in London at the end of February. As a kind of run-up to the Borders Book Festival in June, novelist Lindsey Davis is speaking in the Corn Exchange at 7.30pm on Thursday, May 18, at the Scottish launch of her latest Roman detective novel. Members, friends and members of the public are welcome to attend and contribute to the Trimontium Museum Extension Fund. Hardback copies of the book, signed by the author, will be on sale.

MOREBATTLE

SWI

Mary Pringle, president, welcomed everyone to the Christmas dinner in the Templehall Hotel and announced the new officials and committee members for the forthcoming year – president – Catherine Mabon; vice-president, Jenny Flannigan; secretary, Marie-France Taylor; treasurer, Marian Dumma; press secretary, Janette Stenhouse; magazine secretary, Linda Nairn; tea hostess, Liz Watson. Committee – Nancy Anderson, Frances Common, Margaret Lees, Sandra Redhead, Lizzie Thomson. Mary then presented new president Catherine with her president’s badge, the latter delivering a vote of thanks to Mary for her work over the past three years. A meal was served, then Grace and Morag organised a couple of games, winners being – Christmas card jigsaw – Helen Cessford, tops or tails – Mary Pringle. Marie-France Taylor proposed the vote of thanks to the Templehall Hotel and also to Grace and Morag. The evening closed with carols sung by the company. Next month’s meeting – Wednesday, January 11 – features Lynn Young on keep fit. Competitions – hand-made card and favourite pen.

YETHOLM

Hogmanay

A Hogmanay party will be held in the Wauchope Hall from 7.30pm-1am – entry by ticket. All proceeds to the BGH Margaret Kerr Unit, Festival Week and Bonfire Night.

Quiz

There is a quiz night in the Plough Hotel on Wednesday, December 28, from 8pm.

Christmas lunch

A Christmas lunch will be held in the Youth Hall on Christmas Day for anyone who is on their own. Anyone wishing to attend should put their names down at the village shop.

Shops

The village and coffee shops will be open on Boxing Day from 10am.