Tribute to fallen unveiled

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The site of the demolished St Mary’s Church – an eyesore angering Souters for years, especially during remembrance services and common ridings – has been given a long-overdue makeover.

Selkirk Ex-Soldiers’ Association gained permission from the landowner for access to the site to hide it from view.

Security fencing has been moved back a couple of metres, allowing screening to be installed.

The site has been given a general tidy-up and replanted, and a commemorative bench – dedicated to the 1,004 men of Selkirk who came back from the First World War alive, designed and built by Kilmarnock engineer David Ogilvie – has been installed, as well as repairs having been carried out on a crumbling wall.

Association chairman David Deacon said: “This was not just our project – it is a project the whole community was involved in.

“It was vitally important to unveil this before the common riding as the war memorial does play a huge part in the proceedings, and it has been a major eyesore for too long.

At the ceremony, Selkirk’s Royal Burgh Standard Bearer, Kieran Riddell, was presented with an engraved trowel to replace one he broke while working on the wall.

The empty site behind the garden has been earmarked for housing, and the garden has been designed so it can be moved if development work gets under way.

Mr Deacon said: “If required, each part – other than the wall – can be taken away and placed elsewhere in the town.”