Melrose brothers pledge to continue their family's farming legacy at new site

Two brothers whose family has been at the heart of agricultural life in Melrose for generations have revealed ambitious plans to serve that community for decades to come.

By Paul Kelly
Wednesday, 10th March 2021, 4:17 pm
Brothers Andrew and Garry Wight, AB Wight Engineering. (Photo: BILL McBURNIE)
Brothers Andrew and Garry Wight, AB Wight Engineering. (Photo: BILL McBURNIE)

The name Wight resonates among farming families in Melrose and St Boswells.

Brothers and family members Andrew and Garry Wight are directors with agricultural and engineering company AB Wight, which has grown steadily over almost a decade at the Charlesfield Industrial Estate.

Now the company, which currently employs 10 staff and has a turnover of between £1.2m and £1.5m, aims to relocate to an adjoining 1.7 acre site.

Proposed new site for AB Wight engineering at former Slaters Yard. (Photo: BILL McBURNIE)

A planning application has been submitted to Scottish Borders Council to transfer operations to the former Slaters Yard.

If the green light is given it will result in the creation of at least five new jobs and vastly improve efficiency.

Garry, 30 tomorrow, Thursday, March 11, said part of the move was to continue his family's agricultural tradition.

He said: "Our late grandpa, Thomas Wight, of Whitrighill Farm, had five sons and two daughters, one of the sobeing my dad, but my dad pulled out of the farm before I was born so I wasn't born into the farm.

"Nevertheless, myself and my brother obviously spent a lot of weekends there and the Wight name is well known in the agricultural community and that made that community get behind us because we are from that background.

"Our uncles still farm there. Our whole background is very much Melrose/St Boswells and it's a key for us. Much of the success that we have is because of that history.

"Andrew and I had our own workshop that we rented and worked away in as a hobby as teenagers, making bits and pieces for our own family use, that's when we first got involved and that opened a window of opportunity.

"When Andrew started to get demand for his services that's when he left his full-time employment and went self-employed, starting off with a couple of local farmers as customers and it slowly built up from a need within the agricultural community for better quality, better service and better value and that's what AB Wight delivers."

Garry and Andrew, 33, have taken a limited wage for themselves in order to reinvest in the company over the years.

Now that foresight and dedication is set to pay-off.

Garry added: "Efficiency is a big key into getting onto one site, under one roof, because at the moment we are operating effectively out of three units which is a great inefficiency and we actually have staff having to travel from one workshop to our stores to pick up some bolts to then go back to the workshop, so inefficiency is a big driving force to be under the one roof.

"On the physical operational side of things because the business is constantly growing we need more space and we are crying out for room to be able to carry out more repairs. The business can function better with more space.

"We purchased that land so it makes sense to move forward to put a shed on there. We're better paying the mortgage on a new shed than paying for the rent on three units.

"We'll be needing at least another five full-time employees to cover various roles. That figure is probably an under-estimation - it could be quite a few more."