Tribute for Southern’s Ali Watson

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The greatest asset of any local newspaper is very much its personnel and none more so than its staff photographers.

For almost four decades, Southern Reporter snapper Alastair Watson captured the highs and lows in the lives of ordinary Borders across this region.

From the most joyful of occasions and sporting triumphs to the saddest of tragedies, he treated all assignments with professionalism and consideration for those involved.

So when Alastair died in October after a short illness, it was not just this newspaper and his colleagues who lost a true friend and supporter, but the wider Borders community.

To honour Alastair’s contribution to The Southern and this region, colleagues have launched an award in his memory.

And as an integral part of Alastair’s working year was coverage of common ridings and festivals, what could be more fitting than a prize for the best image from such an event by one of the region’s younger photographers?

For many of us who covered common ridings and festivals alongside Alastair, this first summer without him and his irreverent sense of humour will seem strange.

But the Alastair Watson Memorial Award will ensure his name continues to be a lasting feature of our coverage of summer festivals for many years to come.