SELKIRK Conservative Club was formed in 1883 – 45 years before women were given the vote.
And despite the party of the right being responsible for the UK’s first female prime minister from 1979 to 1990, the true blue ladies of the town have remained firmly excluded from full membership of the Ettrick Terrace establishment.
That anomaly was finally put to bed last month when the all-male committee, supported by the all-male membership, voted through a new constitution and rules which allow women, for the first time, to play a full part in the running of the club.
And, as equal members, the ladies will be able to vote at next week’s AGM – and take their places, if elected, on the full committee.
“It’s been a long time coming in these days of equal rights, but it’s a case of better late than never,” said Eleanor McCudden, chair of the Selkirk Women’s Unionists (SWU), a longstanding offshoot of the male bastion.
“Women have played a huge role in supporting and fundraising for the party over the years and it was a great day when I was allowed to pay my £25 subscription, the same as the men, last month.”
Club chairman Jim Terras hailed the AGM – next Friday at 7.30pm – as “an historic occasion”.
“We are looking for a big turnout to mark the event ... we’re all sure the ladies will bring with them new ideas and options which will benefit the club.
“I’m sure it heralds major changes for the better. Gone are the days of the smoke-filled fuddyduddy atmosphere as our club makes its facilities more widely available and holds family-friendly events throughout the year.”
Meanwhile, the decision of Prince William and Kate Middleton to get married on the same day – April 29 – that Selkirk appoints its Royal Burgh Standard Bearer will be celebrated by the SWU at a special “wedding party” in the club, starting at 10am.
Guests will be served Bucks Fizz and canapes on arrival before enjoying a buffet lunch with wine and big screen coverage of the Westminster Abbey ceremony. There will be prizes for the best-dressed male and female guests and a royal quiz.
Tickets (£10) are available from the club bar.