Memories shared as former Hawick children’s home hosts reunion

Hawick and Hermitage councillor Watson McAteer and Balcary House Hotel owners David and Sue Watson with guests at a reunion there of former Barnardo's children.
Hawick and Hermitage councillor Watson McAteer and Balcary House Hotel owners David and Sue Watson with guests at a reunion there of former Barnardo's children.

A former children’s home in Hawick opened its doors again at the weekend for a reunion of ex-residents.

Balcary House was a residential care facility for children’s charity Barnardo’s from 1944 to 1974, and 15 youngsters cared for there staged a get-together at the 1888-built mansion, now a hotel owned by David and Sue Watson, sharing memories and photos.

One of those in attendance was Geoff Ruderham, 66, a retired cinema projectionist looked after at the Buccleuch Road home from 1956 to 1967.

Despite living in Edinburgh for half a century, he still regards Hawick as home and says he intends to return there to live at some point in the future.

Geoff said: “I went to Balcary just before or just after I was three. I was there 10 or 11 years.

“I found Balcary a very happy, very open place, and I had an absolute ball.

“When we get back together again, it’s just like a family reunion.

“Balcary has got an amazing atmosphere about it. It’s one of those magical places, and it has not really changed in all those years.”

“We still refer to Hawick as our home-town despite 50 years of living in Edinburgh. I certainly hope to return to live there one day.”