Strike up the band – Innerleithen musicians are Scottish champs again

A group of young players from St Ronan's Silver Band in Innerleithen have become Scottish champions.'They were taking part in the Scottish Youth Solo and Ensemble Championships at the Howden Centre in Livingston last Saturday.'In the intermediate ensembles, St Ronan's was represented by Callum Robb, Callum Anderson, Ally Norman, Andrew Wilson and Thomas Brydon who collected a gold award and first place overall.
A group of young players from St Ronan's Silver Band in Innerleithen have become Scottish champions.'They were taking part in the Scottish Youth Solo and Ensemble Championships at the Howden Centre in Livingston last Saturday.'In the intermediate ensembles, St Ronan's was represented by Callum Robb, Callum Anderson, Ally Norman, Andrew Wilson and Thomas Brydon who collected a gold award and first place overall.

A group of young players from St Ronan’s Silver Band in Innerleithen have become Scottish champions.

They were taking part in the Scottish Youth Solo and Ensemble Championships at the Howden Centre in Livingston last Saturday.

In the intermediate ensembles, St Ronan’s was represented by two quintets, both under the direction of David Robb.

The group of Anya Wilson, Sophie Ward Murray, Elliot Brydon, Ally Norman and Alex Paterson put in a great performance to achieve a bronze award.

The assured performance of quintet Callum Robb, Callum Anderson, Ally Norman, Andrew Wilson and Thomas Brydon (pictured) earned them a gold award and first place overall. This saw them crowned Scottish champions for the second time, having recently become Scottish champions with the Scottish Borders Youth Band.

In the junior solo section, Ally Norman and Anya Wilson gained gold and bronze awards respectively. So far as the intermediate solos were concerned, Callum Anderson and Thomas Brydon both clinched bronze, and amid a high standard of playing, Callum Robb picked up gold and third place overall.

“Our players were competing against the best young brass players from all over Scotland and they all played extremely well and should be very proud of their achievements,” said band secretary Keith Belleville.



A Winter Warmer Ceilidh will be held in Blainslie Hall on Saturday, February 18, at 8pm. A hot supper is included in the £10 price of tickets available from


Community cafe

The next community cafe will be held in the village hall at 11am on Wednesday, February 15.


Historical talk

The next illustrated talk in a historical series will be given by Andrew Jepson of Archaeology Scotland. He is the project officer for Stobs Camp, situated near Hawick. Stobs Camp is considered to be of international importance as it relates to Scotland’s preparation for the First World War and its subsequent use as a prisoner-of-war camp for German prisoners. The audience will hear the story of how the camp related to Hawick, and the how the project has been recording the past, as well as the present and looks to the future. There are opportunities to be involved in researching this heritage through oral and written history, and hands-on archaeology at the site. The talk takes place on Friday, February 17, in Caddonfoot Hall (7 for 7.30pm; admission £5, including refreshments; pay at the door).

Parish church

The Rev Bruce Lawrie, who retired as minister of the Ettrick and Yarrow churches several years ago, conducted last Sunday’s service. The Reverend Jack Kellet, a retired ministerial colleague of Mr Lawrie, delivered the Bible reading, and music was played by Andy Bird. Bible study continued this week. The next meeting of the congregational board will be held in the church on Thursday, February 23, at 7pm.



The village hall AGM has been rescheduled to February 22, at 7.30pm.


Thursday lunch club

Members – following a Burns meal – were entertained by The Golden Girls, featuring Scottish music and songs which their audience joined in. The Girls also regaled members with funny tales which were much enjoyed.

Parish church

The service on Sunday, February 12, at 10.15am will be conducted by the Rev Julie Rennick. The congregational board meets the following day at 7.30pm in the church hall lounge to approve the accounts. The next church magazine should be delivered during early March.


MP’s talk

At an interest talk in Kirkhope parish hall on Thursday, February 16, at 7.30pm, MP Calum Kerr will speak about ‘A week in the life of an MP’.



Members meet in the village hall on Wednesday, February 15, at 7.30pm when there will be a talk on fabrics and design. Competitions – bookmark (any craft) and a thimble. January competitions – gingerbread – 1, Agnes Mathison; 2, Jean Stewart; drinks coaster – 1, Margaret D’Rozario; 2, Margaret Marshall. New members/visitors welcome.


Studio club

On Thursday, February 16, Galashiels Studio Club is running ‘Digital Design, Digital Doodling’. This features a talk/demonstration by Peter Blood, showing digital techniques to create graphics and all kinds of illustrative work, including complex, colourful abstracts which would be difficult to create using more traditional media. The event takes place in Old Gala House, from 7.30-9.30pm. More information is available by phoning 01896 820023.

Camera club

At the club’s third internal competition of the year on an ‘open’ theme, prints and digital projected images (DPIs) were judged by Ian Fullerton from Hamilton, an audio visual specialist. DPIs – beginners – 1, Steel Wool Photography by Alistair Kevan; 2, Moonlight Shining over Leaderfoot Bridge by Lisa Kerr; 3, Night Life by Alistair Kevan; commended, Lisa Kerr for Galashiels Flyover. Standard – 1, Out of the Darkness by Neil McLean; 2, Under the Dragon’s Breath by Gordon Swalwell; 3, Landing Position by Gordon Swalwell; Commended, Neil McLean (2), Alistair Peacock, Christine Swalwell (2), Alistair Kevan and John Frater. Prints – beginners – commended, Spittal by Lisa Kerr (as there was only one entrant in the prints category, no awards were given). Standard – 1, The Driver’s Apprentice by Christine Swalwell; 2, The Hypnotist by Paul Anderson; 3, Torrent by Ford Renton; commended, Alistair Peacock, Gordon Swalwell (2), Neil McLean and Ford Renton. Wednesday, February 15, sees ‘Jpegs as is’ where members can submit a jpeg straight out of the camera, then show the same image edit, if necessary, while also explaining what editing they did and why they took the shot.

Trinity Church

The Rev Bruce Lawrie conducted last Sunday’s service. Dorothy Howden led the music, with the choir opening the service with an introit, while Margaret Tancock delivered the Bible reading. Session clerk Bill Cheyne said the guild coffee morning held on Saturday raised £215.30. A kirk session meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 14. It begins at 7pm.

St Peter’s Church

Thursday, February 9 – 10am, communion service; Saturday, February 11 – noon, soup ‘n’ pud lunch; Sunday, February 12 – 9.30am, Sunday Squad, followed by juice and toast; 10.30am, sung eucharist led by the Reverend Grace Redpath; 6pm, healing service led by the Reverend Philip Blackledge; Monday, February 13 – 11am, communion, Oakwood Park; Thursday, February 16 – 10am, communion service.

Burns club

Photographs from the recent Galashiels Burns Club annual supper in the Volunteer Hall are now available to view on the club’s website –


Dance class

An old-time and ceilidh dance class will be held on Thursday, February 9, from 8pm. A Reel Half Hour starts 30 minutes earlier.

Burns supper

On Saturday, February 11, the Burns supper starts at 7.30pm. Tickets are available from John on the community hotline (01835 840625) or by emailing A free bus leaves the bus station at 6.45pm.


A whist drive will be held on Monday, February 13, at 7.30pm.


Rugby Memories Club

February’s guest speaker, David Ferguson, revealed behind-the-scenes perspectives from the press box and talked about challenges facing rugby reporters in the professional era. Recalling experiences as a ghost writer, he told his audience stories about a previous Rugby Memories Club speaker, Jim Telfer. The meeting ended with a viewing of Scotland’s triple crown performance in 1984, when a fifth of the Scotland team were Hawick players. The next gathering, devoted to remembering Hawick Trades, will be on Thursday, March 2, starting at 2.30pm.


With president Jim Walker in the chair, members were treated to a master class in bespoke furniture-making by Ross Purves, of The Wood Neuk, Blainslie. Ross is in partnership with David Lightly and they take commissions using local woods, mainly oak and elm. He explained the process where whole tree trunks are turned into pieces like tables, chairs and cupboards. The process can take five years as the wood has to be transported, sawn, dried and treated before the piece appears in its final form. He brought along two chairs to show his workmanship. Ross started his apprenticeship under a master cabinetmaker at Gordon, and then under the late Tim Stead at Blainslie, and four years ago took over the business, retaining the Stead format. As if he wasn’t busy enough, he is also studying philosophy with the Open University. A reminder was given by Kerr Scott that the quiz is being held in the Catholic Halls on Friday, February 17, at 7pm – teams of four (£12 a team) are invited.

Bridge club

Tuesday, January 31 – 1, George Graham and Bob Francombe; 2, Fraser and Morag Beaton; 3, Sam White and Richard von Slicher.


St John’s Church

Sunday, February 12 – services at 9am (communion) and 10.30am (sung eucharist) with celebrant and preacher John Evans. The previous day, the vestry is interviewing a candidate for the vacant post at St John’s. Stationery items are still required for the Edinburgh Direct Appeal for refugee camp children in Syria before the end of the month. Churches Together Lent courses start on Thursday, March 2, at 11am; Mondays, from March 6 at 2pm; or Fridays, from March 10 at 7.30pm. The preacher last Sunday was the Reverend Annie Naish who is the bishop’s mission enabler for the diocese.


Horticultural society

Kelso Horticultural Society has arranged a quiz night and Irish bingo for Wednesday, February 15, in the Tait Hall, beginning at 7.30pm. Entry on the night – teams of four (£10 per team, including tea/coffee and biscuits).

Music Makers

Kelso Music Makers restarted after the winter break last Friday. They were treated to a wide variety of songs – the fashionable melancholy of Dowland, Scottish songs by Robert Burns and others, the blues of Leadbelly, and upbeat numbers from Earlston Ukulele Club. Also, the audience heard piano playing with an Impromptu by Schubert, Hungarian dances by Bartok and a finale of piano jazz, plus a virtuoso flute piece, airs for harp and traditional tunes from a father-and-son fiddle duet. Kelso Music Makers meet again in Abbey Row on Friday, March 3. Visitors – both performers and listeners – welcome. Telephone 01575 224920 for further information.

Thursday Group

Margaret Davison, advanced midwife practitioner at Borders General Hospital, gave an account of four trips to its twinned St Francis hospital in Zambia to teach emergency obstetrics and neonatal life support. Lorraine Wilson added her experiences during questions. This week art historian Matilda Mitchell speaks on ‘Margaret Millis: Scottish artist in exile’ at 2pm in Abbey Row Centre. Next week it’s ‘Drove Roads’ with Shelagh Townsend Rose.


The next meeting of the Four Border Abbeys U3A will be held on Monday, February 13, at 2pm in Kelso Rugby Club when Bruce Gittings will talk about ‘Secret Places in Scotland’. Visitors will be made most welcome.

Bridge club

Wednesday, February 1 – Abbey Salver – N/S – 1, Dominic and Diana Alkin; 2, Val Johnstone and Mary Millar; 3, Lesley Dick and Lynda Douglas; E/W – 1, Sheena McPherson and Sheila Urquhart; 2, Annie Mitchell and Bob Stevenson; 3, Alison Darling and Stuart Graham. Thursday, February 2 – Calchou Cup – N/S – 1, Bob Stevenson and Lee Leeson; 2, Dominic andDiana Alkin; 3, Jean Henry Myra Thomson; E/W – 1, Marion Miller and Chris Anthony; 2, Annie Mitchell and John Loudon; 3, Nancy Porter and James Tweddle.



Worship will be celebrated by the Reverend Rae Clark at Oxton Memorial Hall (10am) and Lauder Church (11.30am) on Sunday, February 12. There will be a joint service of worship and communion on Sunday, February 19, at 10.30am in Lauder Church. Anyone who requires transport should contact Jim Archibald (722523). There will be no service in Oxton that day. Diary dates – Saturday, June 10 – St Cuthbert’s Way walk; Saturday, July 29 – summer barbecue at Newmills Farm.



Flower Expressions gave a demonstration on flower arranging, with lots of hints and tips about keeping flowers looking good. Competitions – home-made bracelet – 1, Margaret Oliver; 2, Jean Roden; photograph of a Border view – 1, Marjorie Mabon; 2, Linda Brunton; 3, Eileen Macfarlane. The next meeting will feature the Border Children’s Charity. Competitions are for a knitted article for a child and for gingerbread.


Maxton Meets

The next speaker will be Shona Sinclair, curator at Hawick museum, who will give an illustrated talk entitled ‘The remarkable life of Mary Lee Milne and her adventures with the Scottish Women’s Hospital during the Great War’. The talk is on Monday, February 13, in the village hall, starting at 7.30pm.


Historical association

At a meeting of Melrose Historical and Archaeological Association on Tuesday, February 14, at 7.30pm in the upper hall of the Ormiston, Dr Kirsty Owen, senior archaeology manager at Historic Environment Scotland, will present an illustrated talk on ‘The Medieval Stones Returned to Elgin Cathedral’. All welcome (£3 entry for visitors).

Pain meeting

The next local Pain Association Scotland meeting for people living with chronic pain is on Monday, February 20, 10am-noon, at the chaplaincy centre, Borders General Hospital.

Parish church

The first Sunday in February saw three services – Bowden at 9.30am, the monthly family service, mainly for parents and children, in Melrose at 10am and morning worship, again on the Weirhill, at 11am. Sunday, February 12 – services at Bowden (9.30am) and Melrose (11am); Thursday, February 16 – 2.30pm, guild, ‘Approaching old age with exercise’; Wednesday, February 22-Saturday, February 25 – Marie Curie Daffodill Collection (822214). The induction service for the Reverend Rosemary Frew will be held on Thursday, March 3o, at 7pm, followed by a social and presentations.


Immediate preoccupations are the visits of West Linton and the Burgh schools this week, and the first museum openings in 2017 for the schools’ half-term – Friday, February 10-Wednesday, February 15 (but not on Sunday, February 12). A Town Support sub-committee meets on Thursday, February 9, at 7.30pm. Interest in the visit of an old friend of the trust, novelist Lindsey Davis, on Thursday, May 18, in the Corn Exchange is such that an arrangement is to be made for tickets at £5 to be made available through a ticketing agency as well as through the hon. secretary. Signed hardbacks of her latest novel, ‘The Third Nero’, to be published in April, will be sold on the night. Signed paperback copies of her 2016 novel, murder thriller ‘The Garden of the Hesperides’, will also be available.



Catherine Mabon, president, welcomed all to the February meeting and then introduced Trish Gentry who gave a talk on her recent visit to Bolivia through Christian Aid. The guild is supporting this project which educates people about climate change and supports them to build and use solar-powered ovens, enabling families to eat year round. Catherine proposed a vote of thanks to Trish for her talk and to Dick Warren for helping with the power-point display.

Coffee morning

The Morebattle Games coffee morning will be held in the village hall on Saturday, February 11, from 10.30am.

Primary school

The parent council race night raised £689.50. The school now has a ragbag bin in the staff car park for any wearable clothing, shoes and accessories no longer needed. If the bin is full, then please leave items in the porch. The parent council is also collecting Sainsbury’s vouchers and plastic milk bottle tops which can be handed into the school or to any school parents. Contact the school office if you would like them to be collected.



President Agnes Bell welcomed members to the January meeting and introduced the speaker for the evening, Owen Joiner, from Oxton Pottery and Bird Gardens. He brought some interesting ‘friends’ along and first introduced Angus, a Greek tortoise who is 12 years old and was quite happy to wander around the hall. Members also met a milk snake – a master of disguise, mimicking the venemous coral snake, but, thankfully, the guest was quite harmless. Finally, Owen introduced two giant South African snails. He also talked about plans for the Pottery and Bird Gardens which includes a coffee shop. Visitors can see many endangered species of waterfowl and learn about the conservation programme which Owen is involved in. A small flock of Castlemilk Moorit sheep is also kept in the grounds. Competition –favourite mug – 1, Agnes Bell; 2, Lynne Kellet; 3, Jackie Pinkerton. The next meeting is on Wednesday, February 15, in Oxton Village Hall at 7.30pm when Lara Armitage will give a craft demonstration. Competition – your favourite brooch. Visitors and new members welcome.


Antiquarian society

The next meeting will take place on Wednesday, February 15, at 7.30pm in Selkirk Parish Church hall when Norrie McLeish presents his talk entitled ‘The Great Hawick Election Riot of 1837’. There is wheelchair access and all are welcome.



John Hennessey, from Kelso, came to the January meeting and gave a talk and film show on Cuba. Elaine Reid thanked him. Competitions – slice of Christmas cake – 1, Rose Cameron; 2, Irene Hume; 3, Elma Blacklock; pretty cup and saucer – 1, Irene Hume 2, Rose Cameron; 3, Elma Blacklock. The next meeting is on Tuesday, February 14, at 7.30pm in the village hall when Kirsten Johnston, from The Barn in Gordon, will give a demonstration on papercraft. As it is St Boswells’ 88th birthday, the competition is for “how many words can you make out of the word ‘birthday’” and a snow scene photograph.



Hansel and Gretel will be performed on Friday and Saturday, February 10, and 11, in the Wauchope Hall at 7.30pm. Tickets are on sale for this panto at the village shop.


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

Community council

There will be four vacancies coming up this year. Anyone interested in applying to become a community councillor should contact chair Susan Stewart. Application forms will be available from the end of March prior to the annual general meeting in April.