Souters rewarded en-masse

In an exceptional year, the James Oliver Memorial Award has been presented to the ‘People of Selkirk’ after the townsfolk showed how to support those in need during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Selkirk Merchant Company Master Alistair Pattullo (left) presents the James Oliver Memorial Shield to Honorary Provost Keith Miller. Photo: John Smail.
Selkirk Merchant Company Master Alistair Pattullo (left) presents the James Oliver Memorial Shield to Honorary Provost Keith Miller. Photo: John Smail.

Every year since 2002, the town’s Merchant Company has presented the award to an individual who has made a special contribution to the life of the town and its surrounding areas.

The award was donated by Mrs Isobel Oliver in memory of her late husband, Ex-Master Jim Oliver, and, although the award is presented by Selkirk Merchant Company, it is generally acknowledged the recipient is being recognised for his or her services to the entire town and community.

To date, 20 people have been recognised as having served the community in a wide range of activities.

This year, though, it was difficult to single anyone out.

“This year, everybody has had to find many new ways of doing things,” said Selkirk Merchant Company Master Alistair Pattullo, “and it is no different with the conferring of this award.

“In a year of enormous difficulty and disruption, it has been heartening to see how many folk have stepped up to help the community in so many different ways.

“With this in mind, Selkirk Merchant Company’s committee has decided that its 2020 award should be presented to the ‘People of Selkirk’ for their incredible response to the pandemic.

“Local groups such as the Selkirk Response Team, Selkirk Food Bank, Selkirk Community Action, the Community Shed, Selkirk Rotary Club and Selkirk’s churches were able to react speedily, helping with shopping, medicine delivery and many other practical actions for individuals who suddenly found themselves unable to leave their homes.

“Other organisations like Selkirk Rugby Club stepped up to volunteer, helping with food deliveries and arranging transportation, while Selkirk Silver Band posted entertaining performances on social media.

“Local traders organised delivery services, local restaurants provided takeaway meals and shops remained open and strictly observed the Covid safety rules.

“There were countless acts of individual kindness and generosity as neighbours looked to see how they could assist others - from dog walking to trips to the Post Office. It is these public-spirited people we wish to acknowledge – with apologies to any not included in the above list.”

The award was presented to the Honorary Provost of Selkirk Common Riding, Keith Miller, by Mr Pattullo in the town’s Market Place last Wednesday.

“On behalf of the people of Selkirk I’m very proud to accept this award,” said Provost Miller. “I think everyone in the Selkirk community did a great job looking after each other during these difficult times, and it was much needed. This is what makes Selkirk such a great place to live,” he added.

Previous recipients of the James Oliver Memorial Award are Ella Phaup, Stewart Roberts, Rev. Bill Laing, Jim Newlands, John Smail, Fiona Scott, Billy Stark, Jim Marshall, Jake Wheelans, Graham Coulson, Colin Kemp, Joyce Wright, Graham Easton, David Mitchell, Edith Scott, John Nichol, Caroline Cochrane, Jim McPherson and Derek and Alison Brown (joint recipients).