Selkirk couple’s lifetime of community service honoured
Selkirk Merchant Company held its winter function at the town’s County Hotel.
Following a hearty meal, the diners were entertained by John Nichol’s performance of ‘Dr John Stewart Muir: The Beloved Doctor’. The play was adapted by John Nichol from the diaries of John Muir, a GP in Selkirk from 1867 until 1928.
This was followed by the presentation of the James Oliver Memorial Award. Since 2000, it has been presented to an individual recognised by the company as having given outstanding service to the community.
This year the award was a joint presentation to two people, husband and wife Alison and Derek Brown.
Their first and abiding interest has been Scouting – they met at a Scout disco. Between them they rose through the various layers of Scouting; Brownies, Girl Guides and Venture Scouts for Alison, and the same path via Cubs and Scouts for Derek.
Derek has been badge secretary of Selkirk Scouts for 45 years, a post he still holds. As well as their work with Scouts and Guides, they have both contributed to a huge variety of community activities which include sporting activities, Selkirk Common Riding, catering, theatre production and the Yarrow Show. Derek has been involved with Selkirk Opera for 28 years, during most of that time as stage manager. Alison has spent much of that time on front -of-house duties. They have both made stage appearances in Scout shows and the Selkirk Christmas panto.
In sport, Derek has been on the centenary committees of Selkirk football and rugby clubs and was part of the 150th anniversary committee of Selkirk cricket club where he used to turn out for the 2nds. He was scorer at Philiphaugh and also scored for the South a few times.
Alison was an endurance swimmer; she taught swimming and worked at Selkirk pool for some years. She has become a keen bowler at the Ettrick Forest club reaching a couple of finals this year.
They lived up the Yarrow Valley for many years. Alison joined the Rural where she was an active member, while Derek became the first non-farmer, non-landowner to be president of the Yarrow Show in 2013 and 2014. Alison has been ladies’ committee convener for two years.
Derek went to work in Gardiner’s Mill during Common Riding week 1969 as a knotter and drawer – he’s now a warper with Selkirk Weaving Company. He was Weaver’s Standard Bearer in 2000 and Alison was his lady busser. He also served as deacon from 2005 to 2010.
In presenting the award, Merchant Company master Alistair Pattullo praised the couple for undertaking all their activities with commitment and generosity of spirit, working away quietly and together, getting things done and done well. They were also presented with a certificate by 2019 Merchants’ standard bearer Bruce Riddell.
z Pictured, from left, Bruce Riddell, Alison and Derek Brown, and Alistair Pattullo.