Firm hopes to rise from ashes

Firefighters tackle a blaze at Brian Falconer Engineering.Firefighters tackle a blaze at Brian Falconer Engineering.
Firefighters tackle a blaze at Brian Falconer Engineering.
A Borders gallery owner is aiming to raise her husband’s engineering firm from the ashes by opening her village garden to the public next weekend, Saturday, August 8 and Sunday, August 9, 10am to 5pm both days.

Brian Falconer Engineering at Southdean Mill near Chesters was badly damaged in a blaze three weeks ago.

His wife Linda Lovatt, who runs the Lovatt Gallery in Jedburgh, has decided to open the couple’s three acre garden at Southdean Mill in the hope of rebuilding the business.

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Linda, 51, said: “His workshop is on site, it’s in the middle of the garden and there was a nasty fire about three weeks ago and about half of it was ruined. It was his office and design space which was worse hit. The fire crews from Hawick and Jed were amazing and they got all the cylinders out which prevented it from going into the rest of the building.

“Brian’s still working on the other half of the workshop because he has work to finish. It is quite a big garden over three acres so there is plenty opportunity to social distance and fingers crossed it will sunny. I was thinking about opening it anyway this year to raise money for the village hall, but when disaster struck I thought I’d do it for ourselves to try and get some cash to rebuild the workshop area.”

Brian, who refers to himself as “the village blacksmith”, has been running his own engineering business since 1985, firstly based in Earlston, and latterly at its current location near Hawick.

Linda, a former children’s illustrator, who moved to Chesters from Shropshirethree decades ago, learnt to solder from her engineering husband Brian and uses broken crockery donated from local antique shops to create her copper and china-based designs.

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Southdean Mill incorporates an old fashioned cottage garden, mill ruins, ponds and streams, a large walled vegetable garden with raised beds, greenhouse, ponytunnel and lots of wildflower areas with newly planted woodland.

No refreshments will be available but you can take along a flask or picnic basket, with lots of benches, tables and a lawn available.

Members of the public will be invited to give a donation. The garden is located just 200 yards south of Chesters on the A6088, postcode TD9 8TL.

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