A public servant who contributed much

I want to start my column this week by paying tribute to Councillor Zandra Elliot who passed away recently.

Having previously served as chair of Hawick’s community council and three terms as the town’s honorary provost, Zandra was first elected to the Hawick and Denholm ward in 2007. Her contribution to the Borders has been immense and there can be no doubt that we have lost one of our most dedicated public servants.

On a personal level, she was a tremendous support to me in my work as the local MSP, but she was also a good source of invaluable advice. I will miss her greatly.


Statistics released by Royal Mail have shown that the TD postcode outperformed every other postcode in Scotland when it came to delivering mail on time.

According to the Royal Mail Group’s quality-of-service results for the first three quarters of the 2013/14 financial year, 95.2 per cent of first-class mail was delivered on time in the Borders.

Often we lose out on important services in the Borders because of our local geography, but this goes to show that just because we live in a rural region does not mean we have to receive a worse service.


I’m sure many Borders residents were as pleased as I was to read that there are plans to develop a whisky distillery near Jedburgh.

The plans from Mossburn Distillers represent a £40million investment and would see the facility built three miles south of town near the Jedforest Hotel.

If given the go-ahead, this would be a phenomenal investment and show that our region is still an attractive place for large companies to put money into. Not only would it see tens of millions of pounds invested in the Jedburgh area, it would create several job opportunities for those living nearby, as well as increasing tourism.


I was pleased to read that Scottish Water is holding “Market Day Conferences” for contractors and service providers who can help support the delivery of the utility’s capital programme.

Each year Scottish Water invests huge amounts of money in its infrastructure. The investment period for 2015-2021 will see several contracts come up for tender, and there is no reason why businesses in the Borders should not be considered for them.

It is therefore hugely welcome that Scottish Water is trying to open up this process, and encouraging rural contractors to apply for these contracts.

If successful, the level of investment that would come with it would not only provide a welcome boost to our economy, but also help to create jobs locally.