District News


Prayer service

The sum of £115.60 was raised when Ashkirk Parish Church held a World Day of Prayer service in the village hall last Friday.


Community cafe

The next community cafe will be held in the village hall on March 16 at 11am.


Parish church

Mother’s Day was celebrated in Caddonfoot Parish Church when the service was conducted by the Reverend Elspeth Harley. The Bible reading was delivered by Fay Brydon and music played by Andy and Catriona Bird. A Fair Trade Champion is needed for the church – please speak to Mrs Harley, Anne Grieve or Margaret Blyth. CY (Caddonfoot Youth) held a baking sale after the service to raise funds for Christian Aid as part of its Count Your Blessings Project. The outreach committee will meet this week and distribute the Easter church newsletters in due course. The weekly Bible study meetings continue in the Galashiels manse each Wednesday from 7.30-8.30pm. There will be afternoon communion in Trinity Church on Sunday at 3pm.


Soup kitchen

The penultimate monthly soup kitchen run by United Parish Church volunteers during the winter months took place in the village hall and raised £237. There was also a table-top sale and the Guides were delighted to raise £60 on their tombola stall. Pat Young sold her personally-made cards to raise money for the Great North Air Ambulance. The public generously gave clothes, shoes and handbags etc. to help the air ambulance funds. The last soup kitchen before the summer break is on March 19.



Cappercleuch Hall quiz night is on March 18 (7.30pm for 8pm start). Teams of up to four, with cash prizes, bar and snack supper. The event is in aid of hall funds.


Camera club

Members enjoyed a talk by Richard Todd, from Peebles, at their penultimate meeting for this session. Competition – “people at work or play” – projected images – 1, Linsey Drummond; 2, Alistair Forsyth; 3, Allan Drummond. Prints – 1, Curtis Welsh; 2, Alistair Forsyth; 3, Curtis Welsh. The competition on February 17 was “doors and or windows” – projected images – 1, Curtis Welsh; 2 and 3, Stephen Morris. Prints – 1, Stephen Morris; 2, Angela Jewell; 3, Adam Drummond. The next meeting will be held in Earlston Bowling Club on March 16 when member Angela Jewell will share her experience in Namibia. Competition – “travel”.

Parish church

The spring coffee morning raised £482. The March 13 service at 10.15am will be

conducted by the Reverend Julie Woods. March 20 sees holy communion at 10.15am and as it is Palm Sunday, there will be an evening service at 6.30pm. March 23 – service at 7pm, Stations of the Cross; Maundy Thursday (March 24) – service at 7pm, remembering the Last Supper; Good

Friday (March 25) – 2.30-3.30pm, watching and praying at the cross; service at 7pm to remember the passion and death of Jesus; Easter Sunday (March 27) – 8.15am, short resurrection communion service outside, followed by breakfast in the church; 10.15am, Easter praise service with Easter egg hunt.



The next meeting will be held in Fountainhall Village Hall on March 16 at 7.30pm when there will be a cookery demonstration. Competition winners from February meeting – three chocolate truffles – 1, Dianne Wilson; 2, Fiona Walters. Pretty mug – 1, Agnes Mathison; 2, Jean Stewart. March competitions – three macarons and a cake slice. Visitors/potential new members welcome.


Car wash

Galashiels fire station’s Blue Watch is holding a charity car wash as part of a national campaign to raise funds for the Firefighters Charity (www.firefighterscharity.org.uk/carwash). The event will take place at the fire station (enter via Croft Street) on March 12 (10am-2pm). As well as washing cars for a donation, firefighters will be on hand to provide safety advice and make appointments for people to have home fire safety visits carried out, including the fitting of free smoke detectors.

Camera club

Members hosted their annual two-way inter-club competition with Midlothian Camera Club. Judged by Mike Reynolds, Gala emerged victorious with member Ford Renton securing maximum points for one of his prints.

Trinity church

Sunday’s service was conducted by minister Elspeth Harley, while Dorothy Howden led music. The Bible readings were performed by Nessie Amos. Two new chairs have been provided in the church for use by anyone who finds it hard to stand up from the pews. Bible study continues on Wednesday evenings at the manse and the church annual stated meeting will be held after morning service on March 13. Also on March 13, there will be a short communion service in the church at 3pm, to which everyone is welcome. On the Thursday evening of Holy Week (March 24) at 6pm there is to be a Maundy Thursday supper service in the hall. Anyone wishing to attend should give their names to Margaret Tancock ASAP.

Clef Club

The latest meeting, held in the Lucy Sanderson Hall, opened with Sonata No. 1 Ahn.24 in F by Archangel Corelli, performed by Veronica Bailey on descant recorder and Sue Wilson on harpsichord, followed by pianist Linda Gray who performed the Oscar-winning theme from Hollywood blockbuster “Finding Neverland”. Carrick McLelland (violin) and Graeme Wilson (piano) then took to the floor with a blast from the past, with a set of traditional Scottish tunes by Neil Gow and arranged by Haydn. Fourth to perform were tenor Kenneth Hall and pianist Jim Letham, who entertained the audience with a pair of Edwardian music-hall songs – “Mifanwy” and “Give me a ticket to heaven”. Stuart Gordon, from local rock band Torino, then changed the tone with a set of blues, jazz and rock classics played on electric guitar, assisted by an impressive array of technical gadgetry, the setting up of which was a feat in itself. Concert harpist Margaret Knight went larger still with a set of tunes from Tudor times to present on her 191-year old concert harp. The sounds from the “grand old lady” of the Georgian concert hall, embellished with extravagant gilded figurines, resonated through the hall and brought the programme to a triumphant close. There are three more concerts remaining in the Gala Clef Club season – more information available by telephoning 0778 037 8590 or www.onlineborders.org.uk/community/galaclefclub.



Tonight (Thursday) sees an old-time time and ceilidh dancing class at 8pm, with live music and tutor. An additional Reel Half Hour starts at 7.30pm for anyone interested in learning set dances. Beginners welcome. A dance will be held on March 12 (7.30pm) with James Coutts and his Scottish Dance Band. Admission at the door. Bring your own supper. Tea/coffee provided.


A whist drive will be held on March 14 at 7.30pm. Supper provided.

Cookery demo

A charity Chinese cookery demonstration in aid of Scottish Borders Africa Aids Group will be held on March 17. More details from Nancy McNichol (01835 862991).



The archaeological society welcomed Aileen Orr to the last lecture of the season. She decided to write a book after listening to stories her grandfather told her about a bear called Wojtek and the part he played in the Second World War. In 1942, Polish soldiers, on their way to the Middle East, found an orphaned Syrian brown bear in Persia. They adopted him and he became a private in the Polish Army and was given boots, tin hat and cigarettes. He lived and worked with the soldiers. He travelled with them during the Italian Campaign, taking part in the Battle of Monte Cassino where he carried crates of live ammunition. When the war ended Wojtek and the other soldiers were stationed at Winfield Airfield in Berwickshire. Eventually he was given to Edinburgh Zoo where he died in 1963. Aileen regularly travels to Poland to tell Wojtek’s story, and set up a trust with the aim of raising funds to erect a memorial honouring this bear and his contribution to the war effort. The statue, which was unveiled in 2015, stands in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh. Iain Scott gave the vote of thanks.

Bridge club

March 8 – 1, John & Marian Miller; 2, George Graham & Bob Francombe; 3, John & Susan Law.

Reivers’ Festival

This year’s Reivers’ Festival will take place over the Easter weekend (March 25-27). Tickets went on sale at the Reivers’ coffee morning in Trinity Church and thereafter were available from ILF, Dorwards or Border Events Box Office.


Towford SWI

An introduction to beading was the subject of the March 1 meeting, with everyone making a beaded star to take home. Competition – Easter card – 1, Jean Douglas; 2, Margaret Hornsby. The next meeting is on March 29 – a visitors’ evening – with a talk by Sophie Macbrayne and Adam Flannigan on their trip to Peru in 2015. Meet in Hownam Hall at 7.30pm.



The service in Innerleithen Church on March 13 starts at 11.30am.

Public meeting

The annual public meeting of St Ronan’s Border Games will take place on March 11 in the Vale of Leithen Social Club at 7.30pm. Anyone who is interested in St Ronan’s Games Week is urged to attend the meeting. The management of the Games would welcome members of the public to the meeting, whether they be intending to join the committee or just to offer support for Innerleithen’s Festival.

Craft fair

St Ronan’s School PTA will hold a craft fair with coffee at the school on March 19, from 10am to noon.


Tickets for “Oliver!” (Memorial Hall, March 28-April 2) are available at Graham McGraths in Peebles and from the Thrift Shop in Innerleithen from March 14. The booking telephone line is 0845 224 1908, or book online at www.idaos.org.uk.


Historical society

Next meeting is this evening (Thursday) in the Royal British Legion at 7.30pm. Margaret Fox will give a talk on “Heinous Border Crimes”. At the February meeting, Derek Rae gave the second of his talks on the Jedburgh Silk Mill. The rayon mill was established at the height of the pre-Second World War depression and helped make Jedburgh an oasis of full employment in a desert of unemployment, yet proved to be controversial up until its closure in the 1950s.

Bridge club

February 29 – N/S – 1, R. Stewart & J. Urquhart; 2, R. Oates & S. West; 3, J. & M. Miller. E/W – 1 (equal), D. Harris-Burland & I. Whillans, P. Harris & M. Forsythe; 3, M.&H. Ouldcott.


Thursday Group

Christine Henderson described facts about the Border Reivers and unpicked many of the myths contributing to the romance surrounding them. Today, John Hennessey on the sights and colours of Laos – 2pm, Abbey Row Centre. Next week sees “A grave Look at the Borders” with Ian Abernethy.


A family gala concert, in memory of Philip Laidler, on February 28, with a 250-capacity audience in the ballroom at the Cross Keys Hotel, raised nearly £1,400 for Borders Search and Rescue.


Kelso Stitchers meet on March 22 at 7pm in Abbey Row Centre when Pat Douglas will be giving a talk on Carlenrig Farm Home Interior Accessories. Members should remember to bring their mugs.


The next meeting of Four Border Abbeys U3A Group will be held on March 14 at 2pm in Kelso Rugby Club. John Robertson will be talking about “Medical Murders”.

Blood donors

At the Tait Hall on February 28 and 29, 287 offered to give blood and 258 donations were given (13 new donors).


The Friends of Kelso Museum’s March series of talks began on March 2 when the Heritage Hub Team and Kelso-based volunteers presented “The Kelso Archives”. The talk focused on that part of the collection which demonstrated the everyday lives of the people of Kelso in the late 18th and early 19th century. Last night (Wednesday), Keith Cavers was due to present “The Lost Bridges of Kelso” at

Turn to page 40

From page 39

the Abbey Row Centre.

Bridge club

March 2 – Abbey Salver – N/S – 1, Dominic & Diana Alkin; 2, Rena Stewart & Beth Stark; 3, Jean McLaren & Alison Ireland; E/W – 1, Mary & Nigel Lindsay; 2, David Harris-Burland & Ruth Mackay; 3, Annie Mitchell & Bob Stevenson. March 3 – Calchou Cup – N/S – 1, Jean McLaren & Ken Ross; 2, Bob Stevenson & Lee Leeson; 3, Dominic & Diana Alkin; E/W – 1, Keith Ackerman & Jim Stone; 2 (equal), Chris Anthony & Marion Miller, Helenor Pratt & Pauline Smart.


New book

Rail enthusiast Bruce McCartney, who has lived in the town for many years, has brought out a new book, “Memories of Lost Border Railways”. It features stories of the many people he has met over more that 40 years whose lives had been touched by the Waverley Line and its branch offshoots. Among those included in the book is Madge Elliot, whose late husband, Bob, was Hawick-born Bruce’s maths teacher. Madge campaigned to keep the Waverley Line open during the 1960s and even went with a protesters to Downing Street. She recently had a locomotive named after her on the new Border Railway. Among others included in the book is Dr Bethune, a former GP in Newcastleton, and Grace Brown, whose father was stationmaster at Langholm. The book is available at The Paper Shop.


Illustrated talk

Melrose Historical and Archaeological Association meet on Tuesday, March 15, at 7.30pm in the upper hall of the Ormiston for an illustrated talk by Dr Natasha Ferguson – “Treasure Trove in Scotland” – about the system that safeguards portable antiquities of archaeological, historical and cultural significance. All welcome.


St Mary’s School is putting on a charity performance of the musical Annie! Every year the school selects a worthy cause to support and the Borders branch of Sense Scotland is the recipient on this occasion. The performance will take place in the school’s Morrison Hall at 7pm on March 16. Tickets are available via 01896 822 517 or [email protected] Money raised from the tickets and bar will go straight to the charity. There are also performances on the afternoon of March 16 and the evening of March 17. Sense Scotland is a charity which supports people with disabilities that, in particular, affect their communication.

Parish church

Mothering Sunday was celebrated in the sunshine at Bowden and Melrose. March 11 – Travelling by Tuba, 7.30pm, accompanied children free. March 13 – Services at Bowden (9.30am) and Melrose (11am). March 15 – kirk session, 7.30pm.


New publications arrived for the bookstall – the little Frances Jarvie bestseller which highlights Trimontium and the artefacts, and the paperback version of the sold-out hardback on ‘Trimontium 1911-2011’, the latest information to date, published in 2013, with articles about the trust and James Curle, and the finds since his time. ‘The Real Lives of Roman Britain’, by Time Team’s Guy de la Bedoyere, focuses on the lives of ordinary people whom we know about and not on the well-known figures, and makes a welcome change. The struggle continues for the chance of an extension to the 25 year old Trimontium mini-museum.


Morebattle in Bloom

Morebattle in Bloom coffee morning will be held in the institute on March 12 at 10.30am.

World Day of Prayer

This year’s World Day of Prayer service, written by the Christian Women of Cuba, was held in Morebattle Church on Friday night. Morebattle Guild presented this event with guest speaker Margaret Pederson. Refreshments followed.



Elaine Thornton-Nicol and her assistant, Daryl, entertained the group with a hands-on demonstration of how to make a box from paper and a brooch from felt and other materials. Each member then made her own to take home. Jan Chetwynd offered a vote of thanks. Competitions – pin cushion – 1, Trish Kilpatrick; 2, Nicky Watson; 3, Jan Little; cloutie dumpling – 1, Liz Howieson. The next meeting will be held at 7pm on April 5 when the fire brigade will give a talk. Competitions – floral arrangement in a tea cup and favourite candlestick. In addition to the competition schedule, members are also invited to submit a jar of chutney.


Library cafe

The library cafe restarts on March 16 in the village hall (11am-noon).



The speaker on Safer Communities was unable to attend the February meeting. Nonetheless, an enjoyable meeting was had playing carpet bowls and cards. The next meeting is on March 16 at 7.30pm in Oxton Village Hall and the topic for the evening is a talk on fostering. Competition – bowl of spring bulbs.



See Newmill section.


Monday Club

At 2pm on March 14 in St Joseph’s Church hall, Ron Sutherland, from Borders Exploration Group, will give a talk, illustrated with photographs, on a trip to Peru.

Antiquarian society

The March meeting will take place on March 16 at 7.30pm in Selkirk Parish Church hall when Dr Margaret Collin will present her talk, “The Celtic Monastery of Old Melrose – St Cuthbert’s First Monastic Home”. All welcome. Throughout the season the society offers many different topics in an informal setting and further syllabus information can be found on www.selkirkshireantiquariansociety.co.uk.


Comic poem

At Smailholm Village Hall on March 12 (7.30pm), an ensemble of Borders musicians and performers explore James Hogg’s comic poem, The Witch of Fife. In an off-kilter piece of musical theatre, with specially-composed music and song, spoken word and clog dancing, Hogg casts a wry look at the world of restless, mischievous and sometimes dangerous spirits that lies beneath sophisticated society, and pokes fun at the idea of a righteous and godly society trying to control the unruly forces of nature. Tickets from Smailholm Pottery (01573 460666) and on the door.

st boswells


At the February meeting, when the subject was Eildon Ring (s), members heard various readings about the 13th-century Thomas the Rhymer of Ercildoun (now Earlston), including his meeting with the Queen of Elfland, his hunt for bronze, silver and gold rings, and some of his prophecies – he predicted three bridges would be visible from the Eildon (Rhymer’s) Stone. They also learned of the ring of trees on the south-west of the Mid Eildon where King Arthur and his warriors supposedly sleep until the country needs their help. And members heard some of the history of the Eildons and the Roman camp there, plus readings from writers, including George Macdonald Fraser, Alistair Moffat, Sir Walter Scott and Merlyn Horn, a past member of the club who had published her personal reflection on what she called “Timeless Sentinels”. One person brought along two sketches of the Eildons area by J. M. W. Turner. The next meeting is on March 24, again from 7.30-9.30pm in the upper room of the village hall when the subject is Spring. April 14 is the last meeting date before the summer recess.



At the March meeting, Emma Emmerson, from Newton Don and Woodside, gave a talk on spring planting. She had brought along many plants suitable for putting into pots at this time of year. She potted up some of them and gave useful tips on how to do this. Lyn Anderson gave the vote of thanks. Competitions – card with pressed flower – 1, Brenda Waring; 2, Kathy Wilkie; 3, Gaynor Taylor. Floral brooch – 1, Lyn Anderson; 2, Gaynor Taylor; 3, Yvonne Wood. The raffle was won by Margaret Mitchell and Ann Stoker. The next meeting will be held in the village hall at 7.30pm on April 5.

Charity event

Stichill Village Hall hosted Mary’s annual charity event in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care Kelso. The sum of £580 was raised.



The service in Traquair Kirk on Sunday, March 13, starts at 10am.



The next service in Walkerburn Public Hall will be on March 20 (Palm Sunday).


Muscial theatre

The village hall is the venue for The Witch of Fife, an off-kilter piece of musical theatre with music, song, spoken word and clog dancing on March 13 at 7.30pm.



Members meet in the Wauchope Hall on March 15 at 10.30am for a talk about the Border Care and Repair service. Competition – hand-made item, any craft.


There will be a quiz night in the Plough Hotel on March 16 at 8pm – proceeds to Edenside Primary School.


A village lunch will be held on March 17 at noon in the Wauchope Hall – proceeds to Puppy Training Guide Dogs Scotland.


The final film of this year’s season is on March 19 at 7pm in the Wauchope Hall and is a change to the published programme. The Lady In The Van (12) will be shown. Doors open at 6.30pm.