Councillor with longest continual election record is calling it quits

Davie Paterson is waving goodbye to local politics. Photo: Bill McBurnieDavie Paterson is waving goodbye to local politics. Photo: Bill McBurnie
Davie Paterson is waving goodbye to local politics. Photo: Bill McBurnie
A Hawick councillor with the longest continuous electoral record is calling time on his political career after 34 years.

Larger-than-life Davie Paterson has served on Scottish Borders Council since 1988.

He was first elected to the local authority for what was then the Hawick Slitrig ward as an SNP representative on May 3 of that year.

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He went on to be elected to the Teviot Central ward, Hawick South and latterly the Hawick and Hermitage ward as an independent.

The father-of-three and grandfather-of-two is now 67 and is keen to pass on responsibility for the ward to a younger candidate.

Davie, a former championship winning boxer famous also for his distinctive tartan suits, thinks the time is right to ring the bell on his colourful career.

Looking back on his three decades-plus service he expressed particular pride in preventing a private company taking over the Teviotdale Leisure Centre and building a four-star hotel beside it.

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Davie said: “I knew that would not work for the people of Hawick. The people of Hawick wouldn’t be able to use it and people paying four star prices wouldn’t want kids trooping back and forward so I stood up against that.”

He added: “I’m definitely not standing again. It’s 34 years and I’ve had two heart attacks and I’m not in the best condition and I think it’s time I had some time to myself.

“Nobody can go on forever and with the problems with my health I think it’s the right time to let some young person take over.

“I’ve had a lot of people phoning me and emailing me and asking me to change my mind and stand again but I’m not going to do it. The time has come.”

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Davie was a knitting machine worker during his career, ending his time at the Peter Scott factory in Hawick.

When he was younger he also boxed for Scotland and was Scottish flyweight champion.

He added: “With boxing it’s character-building and I got into politics because I asked my local councillor and town provost Jake Irvine to do something and he didn’t get back to me. I said I was going to stand against him and he said ‘I wish I had a penny for every time someone has said that’. Well I did stand against him and I did beat him.

“My body is now telling me that enough is enough.”