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Crowning Queen O' the Merse and Gala Day - Swinton.
Crowning Queen O' the Merse and Gala Day - Swinton.

25 years ago

▼ THE Chief Constable of Lothian and Borders Police has expressed his concern over the number of youths from the north of England coming over the border to Berwickshire to make use of the regular extensions in licensing hours and causing disturbances. His report, given at Tuesday’s meeting of the Berwickshire District Licensing Board, stated that there was an instance in Eyemouth where local youths and incomers had been fighting and tables and chairs were destroyed. He added that on another occasion fighting broke out in Coldstream involving youths who had come over the border and police had to bring in extra officers from Berwick to deal with the disturbance.

▼ NEVER again will any Scottish youngster go straight from school into the dole queue stated the Rt. Hon. Malcolm Rifkind MP, Secretary of State for Scotland, when he visited Berwickshire on Monday. Mr Rifkind was in Berwickshire to meet members of the constituency Conservative Party and address supporters at a cheese and wine evening in Mitchell’s Hotel, Chirnside. At a press conference prior to that function, the Secretary of State, when questioned about the high unemployment in Berwickshire, said that the Government was putting a tremendous emphasis on training people.

▼COMEDIAN Billy Connolly (‘The Big Yin’) is to attend a rally near Torness next week, which will be the first national demonstration against nuclear power since Chernobyl. Organised jointly by SCRAM (Scottish Campaign to Resist the Atomic Menace) and Greenpeace, the Rally will be held at Barn Ness next Saturday afternoon. Billy Connolly will perform during the course of the rally, and it will also be addressed by MPs John Home Robertson, Fran Cook and Malcolm Bruce.

▼ THE condition of the main rivers in the Borders remained of “a generally satisfactory quality” throughout last year, according to the annual report produced by the Tweed River Purification Board. Although 11 complaints involving fish mortalities - two of which were in the Leet Water - were investigated during the year, apart from pollution incidents on the Gala Water, they were generally of minor nature.

▼ DESPITE a rather breezy June afternoon large crowds gathered on Swinton’s famous village green to witness the eighth crowning of the Queen of the Merse. This year’s Queen, Susan Sanderson, arrived at the Village Green in an open top car led by the Duns British Legion Pipe Band. Susan was escorted by her attendants Francesca Wrigley and Jennifer Spence and page boys Dominic Wrigley and Gordon Richmond. Pipe Major Tim Ainslie then piped Susan up to the crowning dias where she was crowned by Border TV celebrity ‘Uncle John’ Myers.

▼ TWO athletes representing Eyemouth High School won events in the Scottish Schools Championships at the weekend. At the girls’ championships held at Grangemouth, Maxine Tullin finished first in the long jump with a leap of 5.28 metres. In winning the group C hammer competition at the boys’ championships at Goldenacre, Alexander Gibson set a new record with a throw of 43.98 metres. A throw of 11.86 metres also earned Alexander third place in the shot.

▼ SCHOOL children in Ayton and Burnmouth are to continue to get free school transport to Eyemouth High School despite the fact that the two villages lie within the statutory distance for secondary transport. Councillor Felicity Ballantyne said that if the free transport were withdrawn Borders Regional Council would “be stirring up a hornet’s nest.”

50 years ago

▼ THE Duke of Gloucester attended on Sunday, the moving remembrance service at Dryburgh Abbey for the late Field Marshal Earl Haig, founder of the British Legion. The service marked the centenary of the Field Marshal’s birth and a large crowd attended. Before the service, Legion standard bearers, including two from England, one from Ireland, and a number from the Borders, among them Mr J Johnson of Eyemouth and Mr R H Hay of Duns were inspected by the Duke. He was accompanied by the present Earl Haig who lives at Bermeyde, by the Earl of Haddington, Lord Lieutenant of Berwickshire and General Sir Thomas Riddell-Webster, national president of the British Legion, Scotland.

▼ ARRANGEMENTS are now well in hand for the Duns Summer Festival which starts on July 2. It is hoped the weather will be kinder than it was last year, but, given good weather, Reiver’s Week should be as successful as it has been in past years. The programme is on much the same lines as in previous years. Once again there is something in it for everyone, and both young and old will find something to interest them during the week.

▼ THREE occupants of a car escaped uninjured when it plunged down a 40 feet embankment on Greenlaw on Saturday. The car was being driven by William White (23) from Airdrie, and on negotiating the sharp bend at the entrance to Greenlaw from Gordon, it skidded. It tore through a sleeper fence and plunged down the 40 foot embankment, coming to rest near the railway line. The vehicle was extensively damaged, but the driver and his two passengers emerged from the wrecked car uninjured.

▼ WITHIN a month of being opened, the new Henderson Park has been the target for vandals, and at Tuesday’s meeting of Coldstream Town Council it was suggested the park might be put out of bounds to school children during their lunch break. Councillor W A Anderson said that children had been running over flower beds, destroying things. Councillor J M Davidson thought a ban on the use of the park by the children during their lunch break might help. Councillor I C Jack said that if this sort of action continued, they must consider taking serious action in the future.

▼ IN the future pigeon lofts will not be allowed in the vicinity of Dunbar council houses. This was agreed at a meeting of Dunbar Town Council on Wednesday. The Town Clerk, W. S. Brown, reported receipt of a petition signed by three tenants in Elm Street regarding the damage done to gardens and washing by pigeons. He said the Town Chamberlain had also received verbal complaints about damage.

▼ AT Selkirk Common Riding Games on Saturday, Gordon runner Jim Brotherstone pulled off a remarkable double in the one mile handicap. Running off five yards, he came up through the field of over 20 runners to win the £10 prize. Last year he won the same event at Selkirk, winning the half mile on the same day. Another Berwickshire runner to be amongst the prizes was W. Buglass of Duns, who was second in the confined half mile. In the youth sprint R. Lyall, Duns, won his heat in 11.61 seconds.

100 years ago

▼ Early on Saturday morning a fierce rainstorm broke over the county. The local rivers were all in top flood, the volume of water not having been so large for many years. Late on Saturday afternoon a farm servant named Brown, from Crichness, whilst fording Whitadder at Cranshaws with two horses yoked to carts laden with coal ran a narrow escape from drowning. The unfortunate man’s difficulties were observed by Mr Robert Paterson, blacksmith, Cranshaws, whose timely assistance saved Brown from losing his life. Both horses, which were drowned, were borne for several miles on the swell of the river, the body of one being seen ashore near to Burnmouth, whilst the other was taken down close to Cumledge. An agricultural field roller, which was in a field adjoining the river, was also carried away by the flood. Several trees have been up-rooted.

t A BOTTLE was picked up on the beach at Killie-draughts, Eyemouth, on Sunday, by Mr James Paterson, shoemaker, with the following note: ‘1910, October 30. Boat Gleaner sinking, waiting on board Pilgrim. G Todd.’ The Gleaner floundered on the evening of 31st October, 1910. It is thus eighteen months since the sad event. G Todd was one of the illfated crew. The boat Pilgrim, referred to in the note, was some distance from the Gleaner during the afternoon, and the latter was last seen by the crew of Pilgrim at dusk, on the eventful night, still astern of them.

t nowhere was the celebration of the coronation of King George more popular and welcomed than in Duns. Thursday dawned unpromisingly; a dull leaden sky, a strong north westerly wind, and intermittent showers of rain, somewhat blighted the elaborate preparations for the celebration of this great, national event. Despite these weather conditions, however, the committee were able to carry through successfully the programme which had been drawn up.

t Thursday was observed in Greenlaw as a general holiday in honour of the Coronation. The morning was very wet, and throughout the day continued very unsettled. There was a large display of flags from the public buildings (civil and ecclesiastical) and private houses.

t The Coronation Day was celebrated with every demonstration of loyalty in Coldstream, and all classes in the town seemed alike anxious to share in the festivities and rejoicings, which had been arranged to take place in honour of the day. About one o’clock, all the shops were shut, and great numbers of well dressed people turned out to witness the different amusements.

t Despite a grey and turbulent sky, the Eyemouth celebrations were bright and animated. The depression in the staple industry had had little effect on the contribution of the citizens, and the Coronation Committee were thus able to make the celebrations worthy of the town and its patriotic sentiment. Decorations made a credible show, especially in Victoria Terrace, and in many places the long streamers of the fishing boats were effectively used in the streets.

t A WEDDING of much interest to Border people was solemised in Berwick Parish Church between Alex. Robt. Barclay, fourth son of Mr Alex. Barclay, Fishwick Mains, and Miss Annie Charlton Henderson, only daughter of Mr James Henderson, landlord of the Red Lion Hotel, Berwick.