Lauder Police’s Pamela calls it a day after nearly 30 years

Pamela Russell retires from her job at Lauder Police Station.
Pamela Russell retires from her job at Lauder Police Station.

She helped deal with the aftermath following the crash of an American fighter jet, and made sure Soutra’s snow gates were closed in bad weather.

But now Pamela Russell has called it a day, retiring after almost 30 years as station assistant at Lauder Police Station.

On Monday, her last day at work, colleagues gathered at the station for a final cup of coffee with Pamela and to present her with leaving gifts.

For the last 11 years, Pamela has lived in Musselburgh where she stays with her partner, Murray, and says that while she will not miss the daily 46-mile round trip, she will certainly miss her workmates and the wider community of Lauder.

“I first came to Lauder Police Station back in 1985 and I have always been based here as a station assistant,” said Pamela, who hails originally from Fife.

“I moved down here when my husband at the time – now my ex-husband – got a job in the Borders and when we first came we lived just outside St Boswells and then at Earlston for a while as well.”

Among the events that stick in her memory from nearly three decades working in Lauder was the crash, in 1987, of a United States Air Force F-111 fighter-bomber which saw two aircrew killed in the huge fireball when it plunged into a nearby field.

“I actually saw the plane crash from the window of the station,” Pamela told us.

“The police officer on duty at the time just let out a roar, grabbed his hat and ran outside.

“That incident involved a lot of work as we were inundated with emergency services and the personnel from the American air base at Lakenheath, who came to investigate the crash.”

As well as air crashes, there were a lot of road crashes on the A68 trunk road which runs through Lauder and involved local station staff.

“We also held the keys for the snow gates at Soutra and it was part of the job of Lauder officers to ensure these were locked during bad weather.

“No two days were ever the same.

“I’ll certainly miss everyone and the local community which has always been really nice, but I’ll be 60 at the end of the month and, having worked since I was 16, I think I’m due a little bit of a rest,” she laughed.