It is a particular pleasure to write this Christmas message for the first time, having become lord lieutenant almost exactly a year ago.
In following in the footsteps of Captain Gerald Maitland Carew, I pay tribute to someone who exemplifies the spirit of Borderers, alive to the needs of our whole community and giving service to them.
We live amidst countryside and towns and villages of rare beauty, but we should also celebrate the generosity and selflessness of our many neighbours who devote time and resources to helping others.
It has been my privilege to help recognise some of them at ceremonies for the British Empire Medal and the Queen’s Awards for Voluntary Service, organisations like the Roxburgh Landward Development Trust and the Borders Children’s Charity.
At this time of celebration – whatever your faith, or if you have none – I would ask that all of us pause for a moment to reflect on how we can help others.
For my part, I believe there are ways of enhancing the work of our charities and voluntary organisations, small, large, local and national and I look forward to developing them in the coming months.
The message of peace and goodwill will be particularly poignant in 2018 as we come to the climax of the commemoration of the First World War.
In November, we will remember all those whose lives were affected by that terrible conflict, above all those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
They will not be forgotten, nor will those from the Borders who have given and, today, give service in our armed forces.
The notion of service to others, whether in civilian or military life, is deeply imbued in our Borders communities.
With every hope that it will continue to flourish, I wish you a very happy Christmas and a rich and fulfilling 2018.