Framed in time

FRAMED 9.8.12. Duchess of Gloucester opens Edenside Court, Kelso (July 1987)
FRAMED 9.8.12. Duchess of Gloucester opens Edenside Court, Kelso (July 1987)

Christine Wilson and brother John were almost overawed as they presented the Duchess of Gloucester with a bouquet when HRH opened Eildon Housing Association’s Edenside Court in Kelso.

The royal visitor dropped in by helicopter in August 1987 and chatted with residents of the purpose-built complex which comprised 26 homes designed specifically for the elderly and disabled.

At the home of Val Anderson the duchess spotted a dog basket.

Mrs Anderson later told Southern journalist Ian Cassie: “One of the first things she noticed was the dog’s basket and asked where the little dog was that morning.

“In fact I’d kept him out of the way in case he tried to be too friendly and jumped up on her. She also looked into the kitchen area where she tried out the special alarm button. She was very nice indeed.”

Also charmed by the duchess was 67-year-old Bert Walker who suffered from multiple sclerosis.

He told our reporter: “She was most affable. I think she was great.”

Mr Walker added: “She made me feel very much at home and was very friendly.”

The duchess marked the occasion by unveiling a plaque and was given a tour by Eildon chairman Bill Wilkie.

She told guests: “I found it most interesting and heartening meeting the tenants who seem very happy and satisfied in their new homes.”

The £631,000 housing complex was constructed by local builders M. & J. Ballantyne and tenants – who had been selected after consultation with Borders Regional Council’s social work department – paid between £20 and £25 a week in rent.

The duchess left by helicopter to carry out engagements in Duns and Eyemouth.

– compiled by Bob Burgess