November 1987 saw the first patients admitted to the new £30.5million Borders General Hospital.
Sixty residents moved in from Sanderson Hospital, Galashiels, on Tuesday the 24th, to be followed the next day by 30 from the town’s Knowepark Hospital. Both were closed.
The patients were ferried in ambulances and on hand to see them arrive was the chairman of Borders Health Board, Peebles solicitor John Gibb (foreground), and board administrator Bill Anderson (in black suit). The arrival was overseen by Sister Rita Beattie and also captured by TheSouthern photographer was rival Border Telegraph snapper Ian Niven.
Admission details were noted by Diane Keddie and Louise Scott in the hotel’s main corridor.
The hospital’s first patient, who arrived at 8.55am on the Tuesday, was 93-year-old Bill Frizzell from Walkerburn – the longest resident at Sanderson Hospital.
He was followed by Jessie Goodfellow, 96, from Galashiels, while the first patient to arrive from Knowepark was Elizabeth Clapperton, 86, also from Galashiels.
Another early patient was Doddie McCardle, 76, from Galashiels. And when he was told he could see Melrose cricket ground from his dayroom window, he retorted: “I’m no cricket fan.
“I’d rather have a week at the dentist’s. Give me football any day.”
The birth of the BGH saw the closure of cottage hospitals in Selkirk and Galashiels, despite spirited campaigns to keep them open. The wooden huts of Peel Hospital finally closed and Borders General Hospital was opened by the Queen in 1988.
– compiled by Bob Burgess