Tapestry may prove to be a material gain

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Who would have thought that a length of cloth with some fine, intricate needlework would have led to such a major fuss.

Hawick councillors claim they have been stitched up by colleagues, and the populace have steam coming out of their ears because the cooncil – with the backing of Holyrood – is to provide a home for the Great Tapestry of Scotland right here in the Borders.

Yes, in the Borders. OK, it’s at Tweedbank and not in Galashiels, Hawick, Peebles, Selkirk, Stow, Earlston or Hownam, where, of course, they already have the mighty attraction that is the Hownam Duck Race.

No, our elected members – well the majority of them – have decided it should be at Tweedbank. And I, for one, say well done and the very best of luck.

From all the rumblings – some well intentioned, some purely mischievous – I know I am in the minority. But I am backing the Tapestry for Tweedbank project. Bring it on.

Away back in the 1960s, what was to become Tweedbank were a few fields and a pond that were the subject of a couple of public inquiries because the owners – Mrs and Mrs Hamilton – didn’t want their estate turned into an industrial one with homes built by the Scottish Special Housing Association. They lost and Roxburgh County Council won.

As a young reporter, I was there when Lord Polwarth planted the obligatory tree to mark the long-delayed start of construction work.

Changing times meant Tweedbank became more of a village than industrial estate. It is now a thriving community in its own right. It has a school, shops, pub, summer festival, radio station and government agencies.

According the last census, it has a population of 1,716.

And in seven months’ time it will have trains. A village established from nothing linked by a railway to the very heart of Scotland’s world-renowned capital city.

In the timeline of this region, Tweedbank is really just a youngster. But it is a youngster maturing with age.

If the tapestry was to have been homed in Gala, Hawick or even Hownam, I don’t think the people of Tweedbank would have whinged.

I may well be in the minority, but I believe the Borders – yes, the Borders – can reap the benefits of this project.

Stop the girning and needling, and get behind this project.