Your picture of the Week

Louise Renton from Duns captured the swollen Whiteadder river running through Ellemford after just one days heavy rain. Please email your photographic contributions, with a brief caption, to berwickshirenews@jpress.co.uk
Louise Renton from Duns captured the swollen Whiteadder river running through Ellemford after just one days heavy rain. Please email your photographic contributions, with a brief caption, to berwickshirenews@jpress.co.uk

Louise Renton from Duns captured the swollen Whiteadder river running through Ellemford after just one day’s heavy rain.

Please email your photographic contributions, with a brief caption, to berwickshirenews@jpress.co.uk

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

SMOOTH ROUTE TO A BETTER FUTURE

The Borderlands Growth Deal should focus firstly on improving road links between the neighbouring counties on either side of our open border.

The A1, A697, A68 and A7 are vital arteries carrying much commercial and private transport from Scotland to England and vice versa. Yet they leave a tremendous amount to be desired.

The A1 is Britain’s longest and most important road, carrying thousands of vehicles, yet it is still single carriageway for miles.

Why is it that the A9, which carries less traffic, is being dualled, while the A1 is not? Dualling the A1 has been promised for years, but nothing appears to be happening.

It would be difficult to decide which of our main roads has the poorest surface.

The A1 is coated with a stone-chipped top coat which causes much road roar – like the others. Travelling through Greenlaw or Coldstream on the A697, you have to negotiate humps, bumps and manhole covers.

This is the 21st century, but the smooth roads of the Borders are a thing of the past.

I can remember the first time I drove onto a “new” stone-chipped surface on the A68 – I thought something was wrong with my car. Think of that stretch north of Earlston through the woodlands, for example. It is coarse and broken up and now subject to potholes.

How bad do things have to get before they are repaired? John Loudon (“Tar”) McAdam would birl in his grave! No wonder there are so many 4x4s in the Borderlands.

Credit where it is due – Amey has done a fine job of resurfacing the A68 on the short sections where it has managed to do so. Think of the stretch just north of Lauder – a lovely smooth surface – for half a mile.

No one expects the Borderlands initiative to take away the dangerous blind summits or the sudden bends on the A68 as it wends its way from the Edinburgh city bypass to Darlington.

But surely it is not too much to ask to have our main highways resurfaced to a smooth and good standard?

Meanwhile, the exponents of the Borders Railway, which is used by a minority of Borderers, continue to demand more millions for further extension of this non-freight operation. Of course we would like to see a railway from Edinburgh to Carlisle – and run under a nationalised British Railways, not Abellio’s foreign state operation. But let’s have our roads brought up to standard first.

There is also the tourist attraction aspect. Since the far north of Scotland was promoted as North Coast 500, an extra 29,000 visitors have been attracted to the region. If we had smooth, quiet roads from Northumberland and Cumbria to the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway, think what that would do for tourist traffic.

William Loneskie

Oxton

CONCERN OVER VILLAGERS’ SAFETY

Every Sunday during the summer months, six to eight motorcyclists roar through this village at well over the 30mph limit.

This has often been reported to the authorities, but nothing done about it.

The riders are heading towards Coldstream anytime between 2-4pm. I have no objection if any of these motorcyclists “come a cropper” – it’s a free world, after all.

But would it not be more considerate for any of them to have a little more care for villagers’ safety, or is that too much to ask?

Jean Cunningham

Birgham

PROCEDURE WAS APPROPRIATE

As both a member and secretary of Hutton and Paxton Community Council (HPCC) for the past eight years, it is essential that I respond to comments contained within a letter by Eddy Coulson which was published on June 15.

Given the inaccuracies and personal bias, the content was all the more extraordinary given that Mr Coulson, a HPCC member for almost three years, had attended less than half of the meetings.

Although the letter criticised myself and my husband as council members, more worrying was Mr Coulson’s lack of understanding and application of the key principles associated with a community council.

The council’s code of conduct, to which each member signs up annually, is taken very seriously. One of the key principles is “...to represent their local area, to consult with local residents and pass their views on to public sector organisations such as Scottish Borders Council”.

The allegation that Mr McGregor had included comments that represented his own personal view is utterly false. Appropriate procedure was followed involving HPCC members prior to the official report being forwarded. The fact that Mr Coulson missed a number of important/key meetings is a matter of public record.

Last Thursday’s HPCC meeting was a very positive one, not least as 22 members of the public attended, who spoke warmly of the community council’s role and its unwavering support of residents. Many attested that they had come along purely to show solidarity with the HPCC and to denounce the inaccurate tirade by Mr Coulson.

The council would like to thank Hutton, Paxton and Fishwick residents for their encouragement and support over the years, but especially in light of recent events.

June McGregor

Secretary, Hutton and Paxton Community Council

WHY SHOULD WE BE PAID LESS?

I would like to thank all those Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk constituents who voted Labour in the recent general election and helped us move from fourth to third, increasing our votes by over 66% and our share of the vote by more than 75%.

However, if those Labour supporters who told me they were voting negatively – whether for the SNP to try to stop the Tories, or for the Tories against the SNP – had actually voted positively, for what they believed in, then we would have done even better.

Tactical voters cancelled each other out and didn’t affect the result. Labour tactical votes were wasted votes.

Nevertheless, after the election, the Borders still has wage rates lower than the Scottish and UK averages, and lower than every neighbouring constituency.

With a Tory government in Westminster and an SNP one at Holyrood, we can now wait to see if fine promises made during the election campaign result in actions which change the position.

At the next general election, which may be sooner than expected, we can judge whether the gap in wage rates has been closed.

After all, why should Borderers be paid less? And why is Labour the only party raising this issue?

Ian Davidson

(Labour and Cooperative candidate)

WHAT A WASTE OF TAXPAYERS’ MONEY

This week, unbelieveably, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will set out her plans on indyref2.

The Scottish electorate has shown (many times) that they want another referendum like a hole in the head. Only the Sturgeon “family” don’t get this due to personal ambition.

The only way to stop the SNP is via the ballot box or an SNP vote of no confidence in the First Minister in parliament – that won’t happen because MPs won’t want to lose their jobs so early in their careers. Where else can you earn £65k per annum doing nothing constructive and with no qualifications?

Highest-paid MP in UK? More than the Prime Minister? You guessed it, Nicola Sturgeon on £151,271 per annum. What a waste of taxpayers’ money for someone responsible for a £15bn deficit against Scotlands GDP last year and the worst record for education and NHS ever.

It doesn’t stop the world going round (yet), but pinch me and I’ll wake up.

Paul Singleton

Gordon

DEFINITELY NOT A FREE TRADE AREA

The SNP and others insist we should remain in the European Union Single Market.

They ignore the fact that if our membership fee was paid by businesses trading with the other 27 members and not, as at present, by the taxpayer, the tariff would be over 7%.

As far as Britain is concerned, the Single Market is definitely not a free trade area.

William W. Scott

St Baldred’s Road

North Berwick

ON PARADE IN COLDSTREAM

May I take this opportunity to express the parade team’s sincerest gratitude to a number of exceptional folk who joined us in Coldstream on Saturday, June 17.

In a year that saw new headaches created due to the security scares and evil acts of terrorism around our country – the last Parade of Colours in Coldstream finally went ahead.

Though somewhat smaller than in previous years, it was to become a memorable day – for remembrance.

Our gratitude is expressed most sincerely to the Lord Lieutenant for Berwickshire, Jeanna Swan, who graciously joined us once more, accompanied by Richard Swan and escorted by Cdt Cpl Sam McWilliams of 1016 Berwick Sqn RAF Cadets, to the distinguished guests of honour, Kim Sweeney and Rose Gentle – outstanding ladies bereaved in two different wars (Iraq and Afghanistan). It was a privilege to have our old friends back with us to accept our salute and a particular pleasure to further meet the grandparents of Fusilier Gordon Gentle and Guardsman Michael Sweeney.

Thanks also go to Cait Smith-Wilson and Scott Hawtrey of Bolton Armed Forces Veterans Centre, and to Mick Purves and Val Burgess as they joined us on completion of their Lee Rigby Foundation Bike Run – the parade team wish Mick all the very best for the future – and look forward to seeing all these good folk again soon.

To the many sponsors of auction and raffle prizes – Rickerbys in Cornhill, Traquair House, Glasgow Celtic, Glasgow Rangers, Saracens Rugby Club, Scottish Rugby Union, Dave H Remembrance Fine Pottery, Blackadder Restaurant in Greenlaw, the Fisherman’s Arms in Birgham, Leitholm’s Plough Hotel, Cobbles in Kelso, Cleland Volvo, Saltire Suzuki Edinburgh, Triumph UK Motorcycles, Halfords Berwick, Homebase, Berwick Fine Ales, etc. – a full list of those who contributed will be distributed shortly and all have received a letter of appreciation.

The parade team also wish to also thank Integrity Insurance on our High Street, Alistair Whitehead in Ayrshire, Helen Harkness and the many village halls – Birgham, Leitholm, Sprouston, Greenlaw – who generously sponsored or gave us facilities to raise funds to put the parade weekend on. Equally, to Robin Lees, Sylvia, Michelle and all the staff at the Newcastle Arms in Coldstream, Donald, Marie, Lynsey and Paul at the Eildon Centre, Stewart Clark and the Masonic Lodge in Coldstream, Colin McGregor of McGregor Farms, Presenting Coldstream, the Cadet Forces from Northumberland, and standard bearers from Hawick, Jedburgh etc., Duns Players Group, Berwickshire High School, Claire Grant etc. for all their outstanding support and encouragement.

Special thanks to Police Scotland – Inspector John Scott, Sergeant Jacqi McGuigan, PC ‘Rich’ etc – for their support and advice, and to Henry Wallis, Scottish Borders Council, and to the council’s parks and recreation team who had Henderson Park looking stunning.

My personal gratitude is, however, reserved for those I call The Team – Doll, Ali, Sam, Jackie, Adam, Leyton, Kaz, Heather, Rob, Joanne, Lynsey, Marie, Donald, Richard, Ron, Tricia, Brad – who all faced some sort of adversity this year.

In a subdued and strangely quiet parade day, where the streets were almost empty – except for those at a beer festival and a coffee morning – and a faithful few who have never let us down, we held a parade – we remembered them.

Despite the obvious lack of support, we will do it all again next year – elsewhere – because our armed forces personnel are worth it.

To those who did join us or supported us, we are delighted that almost £1,500 will be distributed among our chosen recipients – veterans’ clubs, hospitals, individuals and youth organisations.

Just imagine what we could’ve given had we’d had the support.

Keith Cockburn

(organiser)

BLOOMING GREAT AMOUNT OF CASH

The Berwickshire fund-raising group for Marie Curie held its Blooming Great Tea and Coffee Party on Saturday, June 17, in Duns Parish Church Hall.

We wish to thank all those who attended and all the volunteers who gave their time.

The sum of £347.40 was raised and will go towards helping Marie Curie nurses support people who have terminal illness.

Lorraine Tait,

Duns

EYEMOUTH COFFEE MORNING

The British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) Eyemouth fundraising group would like to thank everyone who attended its coffee morning in The Mason’s Hall, Eyemouth.

The fantastic sum of £590 was raised and a massive thank-you goes to everyone who contributed to or helped this event in any way.

Karen Smith

BHF Eyemouth