Rob rises to the occasion in honour of the bard

Galashiels Burns Club president Rob Fairburn, pictured, placed a wreath at the bard's statue during a short ceremony in Lawyer's Brae last Friday afternoon.Later in the day, around 170 club members enjoyed another annual supper in the Volunteer Hall.Selkirk-based actor John Nichol proposed the toast to the Immortal Memory, following it up with a brilliant rendition of Tam o' Shanter. Addressing the haggis was left in the more-than-capable hands of Grant Lees, while former Selkirk provost Les Miller had the audience in stitches with his Toast to the Lasses.Dave Scott, from the national charity Nil by Mouth, gave an excellent toast to Land of Cakes Caledonia, with Raymond Hume proposing the vote of thanks.Mr Fairburn commented: 'It was a great night. All the speakers and artistes were in top form.'

Galashiels Burns Club Chairman Robert Fairburn lays a wreath at the statue of Rober Burns (at 2pm on friday 27th Jan 2017)
Galashiels Burns Club Chairman Robert Fairburn lays a wreath at the statue of Rober Burns (at 2pm on friday 27th Jan 2017)



Camera group

Alwyn Johnston will give a presentation on the Borders Railway in the village hall on Monday, February 6, at 7.30pm. Visitors welcome.


Parish church

Fiona McDougall, who is on a visit from New Zealand and is a lay preacher, conducted the service on Sunday. The Bible reading was delivered by Bill Birch, and music played by Andy Bird and Anne Grieve. The kirk session met in the church last Thursday when various issues were discussed. Next Sunday is Communion Sunday when the Holy Sacrament will be celebrated at the service which begins at 9.45am.



The village hall AGM is on Wednesday, February 15, at 7.30pm. Everyone is welcome to come along to the hall, sharing ideas for its use and further maintenance.


Parish church

The Sunday, February 5, service at 10.15am will be conducted by the Rev Julie Rennick, with the kirk session meeting the following day in the church hall lounge at 7.30pm.

Women’s Group

On Thursday, February 2, at 8pm in the church hall, Michelle Whittaker, from Leader Body and Beauty, will give a talk/demonstration entitled ‘Nail Trends’.

Wednedsay club

Jamie Thomson, senior charge nurse at the BGH stroke and Margaret Kerr units, delivered a slide-show illustrated talk. Members then enjoyed a Burns tea – Mrs C. Robertson gave The Selkirk Grace. Competition – piece of Burns memorabilia – 1, Mrs J. Wilson; 2, Mrs R. Irvine; 3, Ms K. Brownlie.

Lunch club

The Thursday lunch club gathering began with a game of card bingo. After the meal, member Anne Thomson gave a talk and a slide show on a holiday to South Africa.

Camera club

A large audience representing all three clubs enjoyed an image battle between Earlston, Galashiels and Kelso at the end of January. Judge Linda Trickett provided considered responses to each image, and plenty of humour. With 15 images per club, marked out of 20, Galashiels took the win with 258 points, followed by Kelso on 242 and the hosts on 223. Top scorers: 20 – Allan Kennedy (Gala), Neil McLean (Gala), Ford Renton (Gala); 19 – Adam Drummond (Earlston), John Frater (Gala). Earlston’s next club meeting takes place on Wednesday, February 8, at 7.30pm in the bowling club when Harry McKerchar will be talking about his ‘Mongolian Adventure’. Competition title – ‘Scottish Borders. Visitors welcome’.



The annual dinner in aid of hall funds will be held on Saturday, March 4, in the hall. Speakers are David Scott, from Duns, and Billy Young, Langholm. Tickets are available from Linda on 01750 52257.


On Friday, March 10, supported by Borders LIVE Touring, the Owdyado Theatre Company from Cornwall is bringing its production of ‘A View from the Edge’ to the hall. Tickets (£8) are available from Linda on 01750 52257.


Camera club

After the previous week’s shocking last place in a four-way competition at Musselburgh, the club’s honour has been restored. In the annual three-way clash between Galashiels, Kelso and Earlston camera clubs, the former came out top. Each club submitted 15 of their best images which were judged and marked out of 20 by an independent judge – this year Linda Tricket. Results: Galashiels 258, Kelso 242 and Earlston 223. Three of the images were awarded the maximum 20/20 – ‘Full Tilt’ by Neil McLean, ‘Days Gone By’ by Alan Kennedy and ‘Milky Way over Lindean’ by Ford Renton – all from Galashiels Camera Club. Next Wednesday sees a members’ showcase – contact Alistair if you have something to submit. There is only one more competition before the ‘Annual’ contest – ‘Table Top Photography’ and the hand-in date for this is Wednesday, February 15.


Anthony Haynes was introduced as a new member at the latest meeting before Margaret Fox spoke on ‘Someone to watch over me’. The ‘someone’ was the Church of Scotland, better known in the times Margaret spoke about as the Kirk. Her story started with the Reformation and John Knox whose aim was to remove Catholicism and strict hierarchy. Kirk sessions were formed to run the Kirk day-to-day at a local level and these are made up of elected elders. Wrongdoers were dealt with by the session – ‘crimes’ might be Sabbath-breaking, fornication and general misbehaviour. Retribution could be by pillory, excommunication or a fine, but redemption and absolution could be given in the form of restoration to membership. As well as watching over people in these ways, the Kirk was charitable, both at home and overseas, helping the poor and sick, providing education, paying for funerals and even subsidising parish nurses. Help was given to people wounded in battle and to emigrants who were send goods. The next meeting, at the Waverley Castle Hotel, is on Thursday, February 9, at 10.30am when the speaker is Dr Charles Bowles, talking on the Torwoodlee Broch in context.

St Peter’s Church

On Thursday, February 2, at 10am, a communion service will be held, while Sunday (February 5) sees a 10.30am family service conducted by the Rev David Dalglish, followed by coffee and chat. Thursday, February 9 – 10am, communion service; Saturday, February 11 – noon, soup ‘n’ pud lunch.

Trinity Church

In the absence of minister Elspeth Harley, Sunday’s service was conducted by Fiona McDougal, an elder and lay preacher in her hometown church in New Zealand. She hails from the Borders and is presently visiting her mother, who lives in Clovenfords. Dorothy Howden led the music and Gail Marshall read the lessons. Bible study continues on Wednesdays at 7.20pm at 9 Lairburn Drive, Clovenfords. The guild coffee morning takes place on Saturday, February 4, in the church hall between 10am and noon. The following day sees holy communion at 11.15am and the kirk session will meet at 7pm in hall 2 on Tuesday, February 14.


Burns supper

A Burns supper will be held on Saturday, February 11, at 7.30pm. Transport from Jedburgh is available and tickets can be had from committee members, telephoning John on 01835 840625 or emailing [email protected]

Lunch club

The next lunch club gathering will be held on Wednesday, February 8 (11.30am-1.30pm). This is an opportunity to meet old friends and enjoy a bowl of soup, tea/coffee and biscuits.

Dance class

An old time and ceilidh dance class will be held on Thursday, February 9, starting at 8pm, preceded by a Reel Half Hour (7.30pm). Beginners welcome.


A whist drive will be held on Monday, February 13, including a supper and prizes.



President Jim Walker welcomed members to last week’s meeting when past president Robin Mason introduced speaker Stacey Edwards, of the town’s North Bridge Dental Practice, who gave an illustrated talk on her work in Tanzania in September last year with charity Bridge 2 Aid. She assisted in oral and dental health care, treating patients and training local people who can adminster dental care after Stacey and her colleagues left. They worked in the most basic of conditions where even clean water was a problem. Questions arising were dealt with, leading to further discussion. At the end of the project, Stacey undertook a bush safari where she encountered several wild game animals and birds in their natural setting. The president Jim gave the vote of thanks. A certificate and letter of thanks was read out from The Wheelchair Foundation UK for the £300 donation from the club which, ironically, went to assist a patient in Tanzania with the gift of a wheelchair.

Bridge club

Tuesday, January 24 – 1, Michael Tuson and Bob Witherington; 2, Fraser and Morag Beaton; 3 (equal), Helen and Malcolm Ouldcott, George Graham and Bob Francombe.


Community council

Innerleithen and District Community Council will hold its monthly meeting on Monday, March 6, in the council chamber, Leithen Road, at 7.15pm. The first item on the agenda will be the open forum where residents are invited to raise local issues.

Countdown Club

The Countdown Club will meet on Wednesdays (February 8 and 22) at the usual time of 10.30am in Innerleithen Church Hall of Friendship.

Coffee morning

There will be a chance to buy tickets for Innerleithen Opera’s production of ‘Guys and Dolls’, from March 27-April 1, at the society’s annual coffee morning in the Vale Club on Saturday, February 18 (10am-noon).

Public meeting

The annual public meeting of St Ronan’s Border Games will take place on Friday, March 17, in the Vale of Leithen Social Club at 7.30pm. Anyone who is interested in St Ronan’s Games Week is urged to attend.


Historical society

The next meeting of the Historical Society will be held next Thursday, February 9, starting at 7.30pm in the British Legion when Chris Veitch will present part three of ‘Jedburgh’s Forgotten History’. Visitors will be made most welcome. At the January meeting, Norrie McLeish gave an excellent talk on ‘The Great Hawick Election Riot of 1837’. He outlined the national and local tensions that led to the outbreak of violence during which a number of Tory voters were assaulted and thrown into the River Teviot. The subsequent life history of both victims and perpetrators was shown, and in one case a descendant of one of those found guilty of assaulting Tory voters became a Conservative councillor. The riot in Hawick became national news and undoubtedly contributed to the passing of the Secret Ballot Act in 1872.

St John’s Church

Services to be held on Sunday, February 5 – 9am, holy communion; 10.30am, sung eucharist with the Reverend Annie Naish who is Bishop John’s ‘Mission Aid ‘ for the diocese.

Churches Together

The winter clothing donated before Christmas by Jedburgh amounted to half a tonne and this has now been delivered to and distributed by Edinburgh Direct Aid to Syrian refugees in the border town of Arsal. The latest appeal by Churches Together in Jedburgh is for new or used stationery items including any pencils, crayons, felt tips, Biros, rubbers, rulers and pencil sharpeners, along with new exercise books, notepads and paper for printers. Any lap-tops? – contact Ann Beck on 863888. Any donations should be left at the back of St John’s in the box provided, for distribution to the schools set up in the refugee camps for Syrian children. Lenten meetings will begin again on Thursday, March 2 – a five-week course will take place on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. Please telephone 864875 for details of times and meeting venues.

Bridge club

Results from Monday, January 23 – N/S – 1, M. Weightman & H. Long; 2, M. Purdie & O. Whillans; 3. D. Cessford & D. Gray; E/W – 1, M. Beaton & M. Beaton; 2, J. Louden & S. Graham; 3, M. and H. Ouldcott. Monday, January 30 – 1, M. Weightman & V. Johnstone; 2, J. Urqhuart & J. Kyle; 3, R. Oates and S. West; 4, I. & O. Whillans; 5, J. Louden & S. Graham.


Thursday Group

Mary Sherrard kept her audience enthralled with her experiences of working on the Enigma machine as a young Wren from Glasgow at wartime Bletchley Park decoding centre. On Thursday, February 2, Lorraine Wilson and Margaret Davison, from Borders General Hospital, speak about their visits to St Francis Hospital, Zambia, helping to train in midwifery, obstetrics and neonatal support – 2pm, Abbey Row Centre. Thursday, February 9, sees Matilda Mitchell on ‘Margaret Millis – Scottish artist-in-exile’.

Bridge club

Wednesday, January 25 – Bobby Allan – N/S – 1, Jean McLaren & Ken Ross; 2, John Urquhart & Jean Bunyan; 3, Jean Henry & Alex Jeffrey; E/W – 1, Brian Saywood & Sheila Urquhart; 2, Vanessa Wilson & Jon Bridger; 3, Gerry Eglington & Myra Thomson. Thursday, January 26 – Millennium Trophy – N/S – 1, James Duncan & Ged McIvor; 2, Rena Stewart & Maureen Weightman; 3, Bob Stevenson & Lee Leeson; E/W – 1, Sheila Urquhart & Lesley Dick; 2, Alison Darling & Mary Logan; 3, James Tweddle & Allison Long.


A concert for virtuoso trombone and piano will be given on Sunday, February 5, at 3pm in Kelso Old Parish Church, featuring Peter Moore with Robert Thompson. Youngest winner of the BBC Young Musician of the Year at the age of 12, Peter, now 18, is co-principal trombonist of the London Symphony Orchestra. The programme includes Schumann and Faure. Tickets on the door, or online from

Broomlands SWI

The demonstration and talk by Gail Watson which was to have been held on Monday, February 20, will now be moved to the March meeting. Sarah has said she will change and do her decorated Easter cake that night instead of March, as scheduled. The competitions stay the same as shown in the schedule.


Burns supper

The church Burns supper held at The Lodge, Carfraemill, raised £1,125 for church funds and Blythswood Care. The programme was – chairman, Graeme Donald; address to the haggis and Holy Willie’s Prayer, Ian Brotherston; Immortal Memory, Mary Craig; toast and reply to The Lassies, John McLachlan and Sheila Lowe; singer, Andrew Boles; piper, Callum Atkinson; vote of thanks, Christine Brotherston.


Worship will be celebrated by the Reverend Rae Clark at Oxton Memorial Hall (10am) and Lauder Church (11.30am) on Sunday, February 5.


Parish church

Dampness had succeeded the frost for worshippers at Bowden and Melrose, where the last call was made for members and adherents to sign mandates for the document going to presbytery as the next step in the filling of the vacancy. Thursday, February 2 – 2.30pm, guild, ‘Man Sheds’; Sunday, February 5 – services at Bowden (9.30am) and Melrose (family, 10am; morning worship, 11am). Used stamps for the World Mission Appeal (HIV) should have a half-inch border and be separated into foreign and UK.


School half-term runs from Friday, February 10-Wednesday, February 15 and the Trimontium museum, aka The Three Hills Roman Heritage Centre, will open for that period, except on the Sunday (12th). A team of volunteers has been gathered for these days and they will still have the two silver denarii hoards on display from Synton and Kippilaw. Schools have begun to arrange visits – February 8 and 9, and March 30. Novelist Lindsey Davis’s talk, which will be delivered on Thursday, May 18, could be a big draw. An email from two fans from the west of Scotland requested two places – even ‘standing places’ if it was fully booked.


At Melrose in Bloom’s AGM in the Ormiston Room, Val Miller was elected chairman, while Alister Legge and Pam Rowlands continue as treasurer and secretary respectively. Work parties begin this month with a litter-pick. New volunteers – whether to plant, tidy, or water with watering vehicle ‘Rosie’ in the summer months – are welcome (more information from Val on 822758 or Pam on 822024). The next meeting will be on Tuesday, February 21, at 7.30pm in the Lower Ormiston Room.


Coffee morning

Graeme Lang is grateful to everyone for their support at a coffee morning and Morebattle Bake Off on Saturday for his London Marathon run in aid of Whizz-Kidz when £750 was raised. Special thanks to Linda Ovens for telling everyone about Whizz-Kidz, Sharon and Jeff Banks for judging the Bake Off and auctioneer Andrew Milne. Star baker was Jeannie McNulty, with Spike Borthwick and Hazel Mallen runners-up. Competition winners – Derrick McIntyre, Jean Douglas, Hazel Mallen and Kathleen Borthwick.


The next meeting is on Wednesday, February 8, at 7.15pm in the institute when Emma Douglas will demonstrate cake decorating. Competitions – three drop scones and an apron.

Morebattle Games

Morebattle Games AGM will be held in the village hall meeting room on Sunday, February 5, at 1.30pm. New members welcome. The Games coffee morning will be held in the village hall on Saturday, February 11, at 10.30am.


Seniors’ afternoon club

The first meeting of 2017 will be held in the Community Wing on Tuesday, February 7, from 2pm.


President Elaine Thornton-Nicol welcomed members to the first meeting of the year when the guest for the evening was Gail Hendry, who gave a talk on the history of gin-making. She told how there had been a recent revival and dozens of flavoured gins were now available, several produced locally in the Borders. Competition – a fancy folded napkin – 1, Daryl Du Bois; 2, Margaret Luke; 3, Morag Sharp. Elaine thanked Gail for her talk and the flavoured gin samples. The next meeting is Thursday, February 2, at 7pm in Newtown Community Wing.


Camera club

Last Wednesday (January 25), the club held its third club competition of the season. Judged by Kenny Scott, the theme was ‘Glass’ and a good varied entry of images, both digital and print, were submitted. Results – colour prints – 1, Jennifer Payne; 2, Jim Young; 3, Bill Palin; black and white prints – 1, Bill Palin; 2, Ali Johnson; 3, Bryan Johnstone; digital images – 1, John Nairn; 2, Jean Foster; 3, Ali Johnston.



Chocolate was the theme of this year’s first meeting held last Thursday and many suitable goodies were enjoyed throughout the evening. After hearing about the history, production and health benefits of chocolate, poems and quotations (some very amusing) were read from such varied sources as Daniel Defoe (Robinson Crusoe), Vaughn Becker, Brian Blessed, Robert Burns, Vera Cidhwa, Chenou-liu, Dawn French, Victoria George, Mel Gibson, Jerry Hall, Bonnie Langford, Joan Rivers, Allen Steble and Sharon Stone. Discussions followed and members learned about Fair Trade and chocolate, and about Cuban-born Rafael who became a famous clown, ‘Chocolat’, in France, dying there in 1917. The next AmDrams gathering will be on Thursday, February 16, in the village hall’s upper room, from 7.30-9.30pm. The topic is Russia and all are welcome.


History society

Members meet on Tuesday, February 7, at 7.30pm in the Mission Hall. This will be the AGM, followed by Matt Seattle talking about ‘Border Pipers and the Yetholm Connection’.


There will be Coffee in Church on Wednesday, February 8, from 10.30am-noon.


A quiz night will be held in the Plough Hotel on Wednesday, February 8, at 8pm, with proceeds going to Yetholm Shepherds’ Show.


Hansel and Gretel will be performed on Friday, February 10, and the following day in the Wauchope Hall at 7.30pm. Tickets are on sale in the village shop.


The Shepherds’ Show AGM is on Thursday, February 16, at 7.30pm in the Wauchope Hall.