Myra was town’s ambassador

Tribute has been paid to Hawick’s first female provost who went on to become a housing association stalwart.
Myra Turnbull Hawick ProvostMyra Turnbull Hawick Provost
Myra Turnbull Hawick Provost

Myra Turnbull, who has died at the age of 88, was town provost from 1988 to 1996, while serving as a Roxburgh District councillor.

She went on to spend 24 years as a board member with Eildon Housing association, only retiring from that role in 2017.

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Myra entered the world of politics after her husband John, also a councillor and a grocer and whisky blender for the family business, Turnbull Grocery and Wine Shop, died suddenly in 1982.

Myra and John TurnbullMyra and John Turnbull
Myra and John Turnbull

Speaking to the Southern three years ago, Myra explained the motivation for her long and varied public service.

She said: “The year before John died, he had a big coronary, and I asked him if anything happened to him, what would I do without him. “He just said ‘you’ll just get on with it’, so when he died, I just felt him pushing me on from behind, and I just got on with it.”

She was nearing the end of her political career when she was offered the voluntary role with Selkirk-based Eildon.

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This volunteering effort underlined her commitment to public service, for which she was awarded her MBE in 1996.

A spokesperson Eildon said: “Myra was a passionate champion of the work of Eildon Housing Association and all things for the good of the Borders, and in particular her beloved home town of Hawick.

“She brought a breadth of knowledge and experience to her role as a board member, however it was engaging with people where she really came into her own.”

Hawick’s current provost, Watson McAteer, said the town had lost “a highly respected and truly amazing character”.

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He added: “Myra loved Hawick and its people and set the bar very high when working tirelessly as a Roxburgh District councillor making sure that our town was always properly represented.

“She had a great love of our common riding and continued to support provost council ceremonial events whenever she could.”

Hawick and Denholm councillor Stuart Marshall added: “Myra Turnbull was without doubt an outstanding ambassador for our town and up until a couple of years ago was still working hard for our community in her capacity as a board member with Eildon Housing. Hawick has lost a truly remarkable servant and I personally have lost a very dear friend who was such a support to me during my time in office.”

Myra died peacefully at Queen’s House care home in Kelso on Sunday, July 19. She is survived by her children, Barrie, Debbie and Hamish, her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Following a private cremation her family is planning a celebration of Myra’s life when circumstances allow.

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