Bill Hardie – former Lauder provost and ‘outstanding public servant’

Bill Hardie
Bill Hardie

TRIBUTES have poured in for one of Lauder’s best-known figures who died on Monday at Queen’s House Care Home in Kelso.

Bill Hardie JP MBE was well known for his contribution to civic and community life thoughout Lauderdale, which was described this week by one who knew him well as being “immense, immeasurable and unfailing”.

A former provost of Lauder, Mr Hardie, who was in his late 70s, was also a past chairman of the now defunct Ettrick and Lauderdale District Council, as well as a Scottish Borders councillor from 1996 until 2002.

Graeme Donald is a recent past chairman of Lauderdale Community Council and knew Mr Hardie for more than 30 years, working closely with him locally and also while the former was a senior official with the local authority education department.

Mr Donald said Mr Hardie’s love of Lauder shone through in his contribution to the community.

“His knowledge of the history of the area was second to few if any and he enjoyed every opportunity to exercise that knowledge whether to visitor, new resident or the local historical society,” Mr Donald told TheSouthern this week.

While Mr Hardie may have been less directly involved in community matters more recently, Mr Donald said his name was seldom off the lips of many people.

“Whatever the question about Lauder the comment was always ‘Bill Hardie will know’,” said Mr Donald.

“As the provost of Lauder who became the chairman of Ettrick and Lauderdale District Council and then a Scottish Borders councillor from 1996 until 2002, Bill served the community as their representative for almost 45 years.

“Bill was honorary president of his beloved Common Riding, but will miss the centenary celebrations this year of the re-introduction of the Lauder Festival in 1911 ... yet he would know exactly what was being planned.

“Bill’s gentle and gentlemanly approach when dealing with problems was just as pleasant and calming as when he greeted you in the street, every morning without fail, as he walked to the paper shop and the bakers’ for his paper and rolls.

“The security reflected in his presence will be as great a miss to the people of Lauder as his civic contribution was to the community.”

Councillor David Parker, leader of Scottish Borders Council, also paid tribute, saying: “Bill Hardie was a fantastic local councillor and an outstanding public servant. He served the community of Lauder on the council for 43 years and worked tirelessly to support a number of other public organisations.

“Bill was a genuinely nice man who cared passionately for the Borders and particularly Lauder, and he was universally respected by councillors and officers who came into contact with him.

“When I entered the council in 1995 right through until the present day Bill has always given me sound advice and has been a fantastic support. We have lost a true public servant who will be fondly remembered for his significant achievements and his friendly and gentle style.”

As a mark of respect, SBC is flying its Saltire flags at its Newtown St Boswells headquarters, the Burgh Chambers in Galashiels and Lauder Town Hall at half-mast until the day of Mr Hardie’s funeral.

This will take place in Lauder Old Parish Church on Tuesday, February 1, at 1pm, followed by interment at Lauder Cemetery at 2pm.