Gates open up new era

L-r (back) locals Billy Patterson and Jessie Alinson with twins James and Katie Blackman open the new gates at Houndwood Church.
L-r (back) locals Billy Patterson and Jessie Alinson with twins James and Katie Blackman open the new gates at Houndwood Church.

by Simon Duke

THE sun had his hat firmly on on Sunday when a new set of cemetery gates were unveiled for Houndwood Church.

Twins James and Katie Blackman open the new gates at Houndwood Church.

Twins James and Katie Blackman open the new gates at Houndwood Church.

Guests including John Lamont MSP gathered at the church in Grantshouse for a ceremony which saw the gates draped in a suitably bright ribbon which matched the near perfect weather.

The church has been the subject of a number of headlines over the past couple of years, owing to a number of planning applications proposing to turn the building into flats and a crematorium amongst other things, and one of the main reasons for people objecting to these proposals was the affect it would have on the cemetery which is still visted by local people and those from further afield who come to pay respects to relatives who have passed away.

And two people who have family buried in the cemetery were asked to perform Sunday’s official opening. Jessie Allinson and Billy Patterson are both natives of Grantshouse so they were a fitting choice to carry out the ceremonial duties and were accompanied by two local siblings, Jamie and Katie Blackman.

The local connection continued with the gates themselves, them being made by Berwickshire craftsman Mal Watkinson, who was commissioned to produce them by the Grantshouse Community Trust.

Assistance on the product came from Scottish Borders Council’s Manager of Technical Services, Jason Hedley and their Bereavement Services Manager Robert Mathison.

And the feedback from Trustees to Mal’s handiwork has been very favourable, with many pointing out that with their trefoil detailing, they were ‘a big improvement’ on what was there before.

The Trust hope the new pair of gates, which cost in the region of £600 will serve them well and last for long time as they are made from oak timbers with stainless steel furniture and of a very fine quality construction.

They feature a brass plaque which reads featuring the words ‘Ego istaec feci’- latin for ‘I made these’.