Peter Fishbourne MBE

Peter Fishbourne in 2002 retiring as Chair of Eyemouth harbour 26/02/02
Peter Fishbourne in 2002 retiring as Chair of Eyemouth harbour 26/02/02

on Friday, August 3, the people of Eyemouth said farewell to one of the town’s stalwarts.

For over 60 years Peter Fishbourne MBE played a major role in the development and improvements within the burgh.

Peter was born in Chirnside but the family moved to Eyemouth where he attended primary and secondary schools. With schooldays over Peter spent a short time as a telegram boy before serving his apprenticeship with Purvis, a local joiner.

He served with the Black Watch in Cyprus and Greece as a signalman and attained the rank of Sergeant Instructor. He returned to the building industry for a short time before training at Morayhouse College of Education to become a teacher of Technical Education.

In 1953 he married a local girl, Jean Dougal, and they had a family, Alan and Odette.

Peter’s first teaching post was in Kelso/Morebattle. He then taught in Chirnside before moving to Eyemouth in 1965.

Peter took early retiral from teaching to stand as eastern Berwickshire’s representative on the Scottish Borders Council. He was successful and served until his retiral.

Peter’s contribution to, and for the welfare of Eyemouth and its citizens, is impossible to measure.

He served on the Town Council from 1955 until regionalisation. He led the council as Provost three times. He then served in Berwickshire District Council before being elected regional councillor in the 1980s.

His other main interests included the Eyemouth Harbour Trust which he joined in 1964. His service of 38 years included some ten years as chairman.

The Royal British Legion Scotland was another of his interests. He served for almost 60 years on the local committee where he occupied the posts of secretary, pensions officer, vice-chairman, chairman and president at various times.

Peter also served at Area level where he was chairman, vice-president and president over the years. He served on the National Council and on the Pensions Committee where his work was much appreciated.

His work for the Royal Institute for the Blind was rewarded with a post on their national executive.

The Royal Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen was another cause he served. He was chairman of the local advisory committee and was involved in the setting up of the premises in Harbour Road.

Swan Court was built by the RBLS Housing Association and Peter was involved in it being sited in Eyemouth.

The Eyemouth Museum was opened in time for the centenary of the East Coast Disaster in 1981 and again Peter was at the helm for the conversion of the Auld Kirk, the production of the tapestry (he may even have put a few stitches in!), the reprinting of the Disaster book and the commemorative medalions.

He served on, and was chairman of, the Eyemouth Herring Queen committee and supported the festival long after he retired from the committee.

Peter fought long and hard to have a cottage hospital built in Eyemouth and he helped in starting a fund to provide the extras for such a building. When it became clear that a hospital was not to be, the monies were diverted to fund the now “Hospital Comforts Association” which Peter chaired for many years.

To help fund the hospital project he was a member of a group who started the first “200 Club” (now 500 Club) which today helps finance a number of local clubs.

Peter was interested in all kinds of music and sang with the Eyemouth Fisherman’s Choir until his memory failings took their toll.

He served as Justice of the Peace for at least 25 years.

When the Legion moved to new premises in the Main Street the “Hut” at Wellbraes became vacant and Peter led a group which had the hut converted to serve as headquarters for the disabled club. He chaired the TEDDA committee for a number of years.

His efforts on behalf of the town were recognised when he was awarded the MBE in the Queen’s Honours List in 1996.

There were many other interests which gave him pleasure and enjoyment. His little weather station in the back garden where he faithfully recorded details at midnight every night for years. He was able to boast that Eyemouth had more sunshine hours and less rain than anywhere round about.

The figures were recorded in a notebook in his beautiful copperplate writing which he could put down on paper as quickly as most could scrawl their efforts.

Peter was proud of his two grandsons and five great grandchildren, although by the time the great grandchildren came along his health had started to give cause for concern. The once razor sharp mind had started to slip.

Eyemouth has much to be grateful to Peter for. He fought for the town long and hard. He has left a legacy which will last for many years.

JAMES. W. BARRIE