This year’s Kelso Civic Week has been hailed as a great success, but there was a tinge of sadness in the town after the death of one of the event’s greatest supporters.
It was perhaps poignant that Barbara McLeod – Babs to everyone who knew her – passed away on Saturday, July 11, on the first day of this year’s Civic Week.
In her 104th year, Babs, who still lived in her own home and had only been unwell for a fortnight, had supported Civic Week since 1939 on her arrival as a wartime evacuee from Edinburgh.
Over 200 people packed St Andrew’s Scottish Episcopal Church for her funeral service on Monday, with £1,350 donated to the Marie Curie cancer charity.
Babs had been a member of the St Andrew’s congregation since 1942 and was still singing in its choir aged 100.
Speaking this week, her grandson, Archie Hume, said, while naturally a sad occasion, Bab’s funeral service had been as much about the celebration of an amazing life as anything else.
And paying tribute, Kelso Provost John Bassett said Babs’ passing would be a real loss to the community: “This was a lady born before the Titanic sank, who lived through the First and Second World Wars and had seen a lot of history made. She was a great supporter of Civic Week and will be much missed.”
Local Scottish Borders councillor Tom Weatherston knew Babs well and said it was a great shame she never got to see this week’s Civic Week as it was one of her favourite times of the year.
“She was a lovely lady who most people in Kelso knew well, she will be sadly missed and it was clear by the number of people who attended her funeral service on Monday how well respected she was,” said Mr Weatherston.