Jim Renwick, who stays in the Tweedside town with wife Jean, turns 85 next Thursday, and is only now retiring from his voluntary post with the Red Cross.
And it’s for his service to the community that he’s been shortlisted in the Role Model of the Year category in the Scottish Veterans Awards, after being entered by his daughters Morag, Jacqueline and Heather.
The award is for military veterans who have not only transitioned successfully to the civilian world, but has been a pillar of the that community and a strong and effective role model to other service leavers.
Born in Kirkcudbrightshire, Jim signed up to serve with the First Battallion Scots Guards between 1955-58, and finished his army career as signal sergeant.
He then joined the Metropolitan police in London, where he “reached the dizzy heights” of one-one-one — a first-class driver, motorcyclist and vehicle examiner, working out the reasons and who was at fault after a crash.
After a dozen years with the police, the couple started a driving school in London, before buying the Pilot Inn pub in Berwick, then spent a few years in the building trade and settled in Kelso 19 years ago.
A few years later, Jim became sick, but was brought back to health at the Borders General Hospital … something which he says he has ever forgotten.
And that’s why he decided to put something back into the community, by volunteering for the Red Cross, along with Jean.
He said: “I became a volunteer driver, taking cancer patients from the Borders up to hospitals in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Livingston and Aberdeen, so they could get treatment that wasn’t available at the BGH.
“In doing so, I drove upwards of 160,000 miles.
“I’m just about to retire now for the third time.”
And while doing all that, Jim has also found time to volunteer for the Borders branch of the Scots Guards Association, serving as treasurer since 1994 and chairing the group since 2008.
The awards were due to be held on April 1 at the Village Hotel in Edinburgh, but that has had to be moved to September because of the coronavirus pandemic.
A spokesperson for the organisers said: “Due to the new updates and guidelines put in place by the Scottish Government, Public Health Scotland and the UK Government, we have had to postpone the Scottish Veterans Awards to the date of September 2.
“All tickets and timings will remain in place for this event and the only thing to change is the date of the awards ceremony.”