Lauderdale choirmaster James is in tune with plight of refugees

Lauderdale Community Choir
Lauderdale Community Choir

James Robertson is a music therapist and composer – and musical director of Lauderdale Community Choir, pictured.

His own compositions and arrangements have added to the singers’ repertoire.

Recent events in world politics have inspired James to write and compose a song called ‘Bridges not Walls’, which he has decided to make available to be rehearsed and performed by anyone in exchange for a donation to the Scottish Refugee Council.

He said: “The underlying message of this composition is one of hope rather than protest. Whilst we are quick to condemn the building of literal walls which separate nations and communities, we also need to be aware of the metaphorical walls that each of us may build which prevent us from reaching out and actively helping our neighbours, both near and far. Regardless of who we are, or where we are, we all share a common humanity.

“The words and music of this composition are a reminder to us all of the need for community and compassion: See the sun arising over the highest wall, together we can let more light shine when the bricks begin to fall.”

The song can be heard being performed by the choir on its website. The score can also be accessed via To make a Scottish Refugee Council donation, visit



Village hall

There was a good attendance on Friday night for the hall AGM. Chairman Alec Colvin Smith reported an encouraging rise in the number of regular bookings, which had resulted in a satisfactory financial situation. In addition, the year had seen improvements to the facilities, including an improved projection and sound system and new front doors. The committee has ambitious plans to upgrade the disabled and toilet facilities during the new financial year, following on from the upgrading of the kitchen. The chairman paid tribute to Dorothy Robson, the previous secretary and treasurer who had retired during the year owing to ill health. She had done so much to secure improvement grants for the hall. Mr Colvin Smith was re-elected chairman; secretary, Fran Selkirk; treasurer, David Dalglish.


The Rev Margaret Steele led worship on Sunday, continuing her series of sermons on the book of Proverbs.


Community cafe

The next community cafe will be held in the village hall from 11am on Wednesday, June 21.


Parish church

Morning service last Sunday was conducted by the Rev Barry Hughes. The Bible reading was delivered by Bill Birch, and music played by Andy Bird and Anne Grieve. The next Bible study is on Wednesday, June 21, and the congregational board meets the following day.


Parish church

On Sunday, June 18, the service at 10.15am will be conducted by the Rev Julie Rennick. The summer issue of the church magazine should be delivered in the parish during the next week or so.

Thursday lunch club

At last week’s meeting, members welcomed Hannah who is a dementia nurse for the elderly. She gave a talk on what services are available. After the usual lovely lunch, Sheila McKay had her audience wracking their brains with one of her quizzes. The next meeting is the outing – a mystery trip when members watch the road signs to try and work out where they are going, but it doesn’t work.


St Peter’s Church

The Growing Together Roadshow, with Bishop John, is on Saturday, June 24, from 10.30am to 3pm at St Peter’s Church – bring and share lunch. Thursday, June 15 – 10am, communion service; Sunday, June 18 – 8.30am, holy communion (Rev Duncan McCosh); 9.30am, Sunday Squad, followed by juice and toast; 10.30am, sung eucharist (Rev Annie Naish); Monday, June 19 – 7pm, bottle top sort; Tuesday, June 20 – 3pm, afternoon tea service (Rev Duncan McCosh); Thursday, June 22 – 10am, holy communion.


Callant’s night

An Evening with the Callant will be held on Wednesday, June 21, at 7.30pm. There is a supper, raffle and sales table. Tickets £2.50, or pay at the door.


Open garden

An open garden event in aid of Mental Health Research UK will be held at Old Coach House on Sunday, June 25, and Sunday, July 2, between 1- 5pm. Original artwork will be for sale – paintings, prints, cards, garden sculpture and wood-turned objects, plus soaps, home-made jams and chutneys, and plants.



The service on Sunday, June 18, will be at 11.30am in Innerleithen Church. There will also be a service in St Ronan’s House at 4pm.


Bridge club

Monday, June 5 – 1, M. & H. Ouldcott; 2, Y. Sharrat & C. Taylor; 3, D. & P. Palmer; 4, J. Loudon & S. Graham; 5, S. White & R. Von Slicher. Monday, June 12 – N/S – 1, J. Bridger & G. Eglinton; 2, R. Oates & S. Blair; 3, D. & P. Palmer; E/W – 1, R. Von Slicher & S. White; 2, M. & F. Beaton; 3, M. & H. Ouldcott.


Bridge club

Wednesday June 7 – match-pointed pairs – N/S – 1, Rena Stewart and Beth Stark; 2, Mary and Nigel Lindsay; 3, Jean McLaren and Alison Ireland; E/W – 1, Brian Saywood and Ken Ross: 2, Vanessa Wilson and Chris Anthony; 3, Dominic and Diana Alkin.


Kelso Stitchers will meet on Tuesday, June 27, at 7pm in Abbey Row Centre when Josephine Morton will demonstrate ‘Chinese Knotting’. Members are reminded to bring a mug and name badge. Visitors welcome (£3). For further information, contact Rineke Sangster 01573229414.

Blood donors

At Tait Hall blood-donor sessions on June 4 and 5, 275 volunteers offered to give blood and 253 donations were given. There were three new donors.



The services at Channelkirk (10am) and Lauder (11.30am) churches on Sundays, June 18 and 25, will be conducted by the worship team. A summer songs of praise service, ‘Hymns old and new’, will be held in Channelkirk Church on Sunday, June 25, from 6.30pm. Refreshments will be served after the service.


Cancer support

Scottish Borders Prostate Cancer Support Group members met last Wednesday at Border General Hospital’s Macmillan Centre when Professor Alan McNeil, from Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital, spoke about ‘Robotic Surgery’. He explained how this procedure had developed over the years, meaning that men spent less time in hospital and convalescing before returning to work and leisure activities. At the conclusion of his talk the professor answered questions from the audience. The usual blether, tea/coffee and biscuits followed. The next meeting is at the same venue on Wednesday, July 5, at 7pm when any man with this illness, along with their partner, is welcome.


Visitors to Holy Trinity Church in High Cross Avenue can enjoy their sandwiches in style with two lunchtime recitals this week. On Friday, June 16, the church’s state-of-the-art digital organ will be on show with a performance by Chris Achenbach – music therapist, jazz pianist, composer and director of music at Holy Trinity. The following day popular classics will be performed by local string quartet Sapphire Strings. Both recitals run from 1.10-2pm. Admission is free, but donations welcome.

Parish church

On Trinity Sunday at Bowden and Melrose the theme centred on the theological doctrine of what might be called the three-fold nature of God: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Tomes have been written to explain the meaning of this idea. The approach here was to regard it as a relationship with the believer, each facet revealing a different and active way of looking at it as in the changing steps of a dance, which led to its being summarised in the singing of Sidney Carter’s ‘The Lord of the Dance’. During the book festival the church is open from 10am to 8pm. Foodbank contributions continue to be welcome. Sunday, June 18, services – Bowden – 9.30am; Melrose – 10.45am, wreath-laying; 11am, Kirkin’ of the Melrosian. Retirement collection for local postmaster in Butterfly etc. in the town.


Between the very wet Tuesday and Thursday of last week, Chirnside PS managed on the dry Wednesday to Route March from Leaderfoot to Newstead and, after picnicking there, carry on to the museum experience and lunch in Melrose. They were probably the last school this session to visit the museum (it has been a busy time, numbers-wise) and pupils celebrated by purchasing souvenirs – an uncommon event in these days of expensive school transport, but a task which kept the supervisors on their toes. On a local day’s holiday, a small boy from one school came in to show off and be congratulated on his grasp of Roman swordsmanship (and to be encouraged by his dad to put the same effort into learning his multiplication tables). Older visitors are grateful for a chat and sometimes end up showing their family photographs, which is very enjoyable. A number of panels from the Offensive Romans exhibition in Dumfries and Peebles, which illustrate the recent finds at Burnswark (sling bullets, ballistas etc.) in Dr John Reid’s two excavations, have been put on display in the reading room. Thursday, June 15 – 1.30pm, Trimontium Walk.


Coffee morning

The institute coffee morning was held on Saturday when the sum of £445 was raised for institute funds. Competition winners – tea towel with peeler, Gail Gibson; plant, Annie Smith; 50/50, Jeannie McNulty.

Festival Week

Morebattle Festival Week open meeting will be held in the village hall on Thursday, June 15, at 7.30pm.

Laddie and Callant

The Kelso Laddie and Jethart Callant meet at the Trysting Tree at 2.30pm on Sunday, June 18. This is the 70th year that the towns’ principals have met at Morebattle. Master of Ceremonies and speaker are Simon Mountford and Alec Nicol respectively. Four girls from Morebattle school will dance the reel with the Laddie and Callant.


Jedburgh East Presbyterial Council Summer Rally was held last Wednesday night at Yetholm Church. This was the last meeting of the council as on Thursday, September 21, the launch of the combined Jedburgh Guild Presbyterial Council will take place in Denholm Church at 2pm. Guest speaker was the Rev. Grace Redpath. The newly-formed joint guilds choir sang two pieces with pianist Molly Pringle. Rita Purves played the organ for the hymns. Iain Whyte, guild national secretary, presented long-service certificates to members of Yetholm Guild, along with three members from Morebattle Guild who have served 50-plus years – Jenny Flannigan, Mary Pringle nd Rita Purves.


Library cafe

The next library cafe will be held in the hall on Wednesday, June 21, from 11am-noon.


Open garden

For one afternoon only (1-5pm), Westerhouses will open its garden to raise money for Southdean Village Hall and Scotland’s Gardens on Sunday, June 25.



The AGM was held with reports from the president, treasurer and secretary. A new committee was elected. June competition results – tealight holder – 1, Pam Hall; 2, Avril Purves; 3, Yvonne Wood; strawberry tarts – 1, Frances Rogers. The results for competitions held throughout the year were – rosebowl for making competitions – 1, Frances Rogers; 2, Brenda Waring; 3, Kathy Wilkie; cup for pick-up competitions – 1, Frances Rogers; 2, Margaret Dutton; 3, Dawn Steel. The raffle was won by Yvonne Wood, Avril Purves and Frances Rogers. The meeting finished with a poem read by Avril Purves and a short quiz.



The next service in Traquair Kirk will be held on Sunday, July 2, commencing at 10.30am.



The next service to be held in Walkerburn Public Hall will be on Sunday, June 18, at 10am.


Hog roast

The annual hog roast in aid of Westruther Village Hall will be held at the hall this coming Saturday, June 17, starting at 6pm. Please contact Angela (01578 740633) or Grace (07779 908159) if you would like more information.



The festival week events continue with the village lunch to be held today (Thursday) in the Wauchope Hall from noon.

Duck race

The duck race will take place on Saturday, June 17, at noon on the River Bowmont. There will also be a special thirtieth anniversary duck race for the children.


Yetholm SWI are holding a whist drive on Tuesday, June 20, at 7.30pm in the Youth Hall.


The National Theatre Live Link will bring ‘Salome’ to Yetholm’s Wauchope Hall next Thursday evening , June 22, starting at 7pm. Tickets for this event are still available from the village shop or by contacting Susan Stewart, telephone 01573 420231. The Blazing Hyena Theatre Group’s ‘For the Love of Cousins’ will take centre stage at the Wauchope Hall at 7.30pm on Saturday, June 24. Tickets are available from the village shop.