A double celebration

Simon Furness and Iain Jeffrey- Netherbyres Awards celebrations
Simon Furness and Iain Jeffrey- Netherbyres Awards celebrations

There was a double celebration at Netherbyres recently when two awards were handed out on the same day.

He waited a year for his big moment, opting to attend an investiture at Holyrood rather than travel down to Buckingham Palace but on July 2 Colonel Simon Furness was given his MBE by Her Majesty the Queen.

Simon received the award in HRH’s Birthday Honours last year for his services to Eyemouth and the wider community in Berwickshire and he is still as modest as ever about his achievement.

“I like to think that the MBE is not just for me; it’s for all the people I’ve worked with over the years,” he told ‘The Berwickshire’.

“It’s just about sunk in now but I’m still as delighted as I was when I first got the letter.”

Modest he may be but as a huge fan of the Royal family, Simon certainly revelled in his moment in the spotlight and was particularly impressed with what Queen Elizabeth had to say to him.

“It was very nice to actually have the Queen herself present me with my honour as she doesn’t do all of the investitures these days.

“I didn’t get too much time with her but she made mention of the fact that I’d given Netherbyres House to charity.

“I don’t know whether she remembered that from the last time I’d met her or if she’d just been told on the day but it felt marvellous.

“I’m very much a royalist so it meant a lot to me for her to say that; it made things more personal.

“It was a great occasion although there was quite a bit of waiting around!

“We had to be there for 10am and were then briefed on what was going to happen.

“I took my two nephews Brian and Frank and their wives up with me - I was quite lucky as normally you’re only allowed three guests maximum.”

After a memorable morning Simon was back in Eyemouth by early afternoon to this time hand out an award to one of his long standing members of staff.

He presented Iain Jeffrey with a service certificate from Scottish Land and Estates to mark 20 years as the gardener for the well-known oval walled garden.

Iain, who started in the garden when he left school, was delighted at winning the award, although he told everyone that he couldn’t believe that he had been at Netherbyres so long.

“We opened several bottles of champagne that afternoon to celebrate,” Simon quipped.

“Iain is fully deserving of his award.

“Let’s face it, anyone who can put up with me for 20 years deserves one!”