Community spirit is ‘heartwarming’

Duns Reivers week
Duns Reivers week

Faced with the possibility of this year’s Duns Summer Festival not going ahead after “financial irregularities” left the coffers empty, the residents of Duns pulled together and within the space of just 48 hours had pledged enough money to enable Reiver’s Week to go ahead as normal.

Faced with the possibility of this year’s Duns Summer Festival not going ahead after “financial irregularities” left the coffers empty, the residents of Duns pulled together and within the space of just 48 hours had pledged enough money to enable Reiver’s Week to go ahead as normal.

Police have confirmed that their enquiries into the matter are “currently ongoing”.

Festival committee president Doug Redpath is this week full of praise for members of the local business community and various individuals who have rallied round giving interest free loans and donations to ensure the festival goes ahead as planned.

Doug told the Berwickshire News this week: “We have weathered the storm and there is now no question of the week not going ahead. The response and support from local businesses and the public has been simply amazing.

“The situation with our funds, which has been reported to the police, left us with just 18p two weeks before the festival week was due to start. It was devastating news.

“However, thanks to the people of Duns we now have enough money to make sure the week goes ahead. There is nothing outstanding to pay at the moment and we have enough in the bank to see us through the week.

“We are as safe as safe can be, but come October when we get the bill for this year’s horses it will be different. We still need people to help us out if at all possible. We are very grateful for the loans to see us through but these have to be paid back.”

Scottish Borders Council has kindly increased the festival’s funding from its emergency fund, while local businessmen Eric Robertson and Ian Watson have both given interest free loans.

There have been some significant donations from, amongst others, the Royal Bank of Scotland, the mother

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of an ex-Reiver’s Lass and even a single mum.

Hazel Brydon, local CEO for RBS, said: “We’ve been really impressed by the way the local community has rallied round to make sure the festival goes ahead. Like other businesses in the town, the branch will be doing what we can to help. The important thing is to make sure that everyone in Duns can enjoy the festival this year as planned.”

Other towns and festivals are also giving. Kelso’s Ex-Laddies Association has also made a significant donation while the Musselburgh Honest Toun Association has also offered to help.

Duns butchers, Foston’s Fine Foods, are selling ‘Reiver Sausages’ and have said that 20 per cent from the sale of each sausage will be donated to the festival.

Yid Photography, is supporting the festval by donating all proceeds from the Reiver’s Ball photos 2015 and any photographs purchased from Reivers Week.

Local solicitors and estate agents Melrose and Porteous say they will donate £20 to the festival for every new instruction received during Reivers Week (july 50-11). This will be for all areas of work including wills, powers of attorney, estate agency, conveyancing, matrimonial/family matters, employment issues and court work. For more information call in to their Duns office or call 01361 882752 and quote “Reivers 20”.

Ross Poole of SMP Contracts has kindly sonated a new Polaris Sportsman youth’s quad bike which will be raffled in aid of Duns Summer Festival. It is hoped that tickets will be on sale from Sunday.

At the Kirkin’ Service in Duns Parish Church, at 11am on Sunday there will be an opportunity to support the Duns Summer Festival though a retiring collection at the end of the service.

Doug added: “What we have seen in the past few days is true community spirit, it is so heartwarming to see everyone pulling together in a time of need.

“Don’t get me wrong, we still need to be fundraising and during the week we will be rattling our boxes and shaking our buckets in the hope that more people will contribute.”

Anyone who would like to make a donation should contact Doug or any other festival committee member, it would be much appreciated. The Festival gets underway on Sunday (July 5).