Borders war memorials judged to be some of the finest

Two war memorials in the Scottish Borders have won first prizes in the Royal British Legion’s Best Kept War Memorial Competition 2012.

The Chambers Institute War Memorial in Peebles won the Large Community With Gardens category, while the Foulden Green War Memorial received the award in the Satellite War Memorial Without Gardens class.

The overall Champion of Champions trophy was presented to the custodians of the Drumnadrochit War Memorial near Loch Ness, who were praised with all the other keepers for taking time and trouble to ensure the appearance of Scotland’s memorials are kept up to a standard befitting our remembrance of those who did not come back from conflict.

Other Border war memorials in Hawick (Wilton Lodge Park), Jedburgh (Abbey) and Kelso (Abbey) were also highly commended in the Champion of Champions category, missing out on Drumnadrochit’s winning score of 97.5 per cent by only a few points, with Hawick at 94.5 per cent, Jedburgh at 91.5per cent and Kelso at 90 per cent.

Duns was very highly commended in the Small Community With Gardens class, while Eyemouth received the same high praise in the War Memorials Without Gardens category. Bonchester also came very highly commended in the New Entry War Memorials bracket, with Coldingham winning the same accolade in Satellite War Memorials With Gardens.

The presentation of the BKWM Rose Bowl Trophies is scheduled to be held at a ceremony in the Royal British Legion’s Scottish HQ at New Haig House, Edinburgh on October 22.

The judges for the Royal British Legion’s 36th competition were Bill Tait, an advisor to Dobbies Garden Centres and retired specialist at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh; John Morton from Kelso, who is a retired member of the RBLS national council; and Ayr’s John Porter, a retired national chairman of the Royal British Legion Scotland.

Mr Tait, the chief judge, lauded Hawick’s monument: “Generally memorials were in good condition although points were deducted where moss or weeds were seen. It was good to see that Hawick had used a high-pressure water jet to clear algae from the stonework. Others take note.”

The cross-shaped, cream sandstone Foulden War Memorial is situated on the A6105 road on the village green, and is inscribed with the words: “Ye are bought with a price”. Standing proudly within the quadrangle of the Chambers Institution, the Peebles War Memorial is considered one of the finest in Scotland. The beautiful, contemplative shrine which uniquely combines graceful Renaissance architecture and vibrant Moorish art commemorates the 541 men and women of Peeblesshire who fell in the Great War 1914-18, and the 110 who died in the Second World War. The tradition continues to this day as local members of the armed forces who have recently fallen in combat are likewise honoured at the monument.