Letters

Disgraceful state of Lennel Kirkyard

SIR, - During 2011, the authorities managed a very complex landslide at Lennel Kirkyard, stabilising precious headstones and ensuring that the memory of forebears was not forgotten in this peaceful resting place overlooking the Tweed.

This was a well-organised piece of local government, and of course why it is there. Last Sunday, a plaque was dedicated to James Charles Purves, a Crimean War hero, who is mentioned on a fallen headstone in the kirkyard.

It is of course quite right that the authorities ensure that unsafe headstones are laid flat and the Coldstream and District Local History Society is now on course to reinstate the headstone through community funding.

This is a good example of Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ where authorities work with communities to resolve issues.

Also last Sunday, two relatives of Purves visited the kirkyard to view the headstone before they came to the church service but were barred from doing so due to the mass of long grass and weeds. Someone going into the middle part where the Purves headstone lies would struggle to find it.

The situation is a basically disgraceful. There is no other way of describing it.

While dedicating a plaque to a local hero is a big plus for Coldstream, at the same time Lennell Kirkyard is a huge disgrace for a person or a town in recognising a man who gave his life in tragic circumstances. Others buried at Lennel are also not given the respect they deserve. Provosts, one whose two sons were lost in First World War, Adam Thomson of the Free Bible Fame, long-service ministers, leaders of the local militia, town clerks, a record-breaking footballer, people who were instrumental in maintaining Coldstream as a vibrant town as well as many ordinary people who met their maker and were probably buried then in a beautifully kept kirkyard.

As we travel round the Borders, other kirkyards are in a reasonable state and this is likely to be because they are in or around a town centre, which is not the case with Lennel. Here locals have said for some time they are willing to assume the role of cutting the grass, if budget cuts prevent the authorities devoting time to it, but it seems that health and safety gets in the way.

I would call upon the authorities to find a solution before Coldstream’s conscience kicks in and takes over.

TREVOR SWAN,

Lees Mill Drive,

Coldstream.

Reiver’s Week thanks

SIR, - May I , through your column, express the following after our week of festivities at the start of July.

It goes without saying that the weather will always play a huge part in any Festival Week, and this year, our Reiver’s Week has been no different to many other towns, which has experienced the rain, when we don’t really want it.

However, these circumstances did not detract from the excitement of the crowning of the Wynsome Mayde in the grounds and in front of the magnificent facade of Duns Castle. Sincere thanks must go to Mr and Mrs Hay for allowing us this privilege.

Our principals this year have done us all proud, Reiver Martin and his Lass Claire, with attendants Scott and Iona. They have all carried out their duties admirably, as has our Wynsome Mayde Abigail with her maydes Rachel, Emily, Amber and Leona. Needless to say our Reiver’s party will continue to represent Duns throughout the remainder of the summer at other festivals.

Festivals such as ours cannot function without a committee - a group of people who work tirelessly making sure that everything is right for each event and everything is under control. Unfortunately, the weather is not part of their remit!

My personal thanks to all the committee members for all their hard work.

Gratitude must be expressed to those landowners who allowed our cavalcade of horses to cross their land under difficult circumstances.

Ian Aitchison, along with Stuart Renton and Michael Lamb braved the elements in the early hours before our Saturday rideout to ensure that it could actually go ahead. Indeed we are most grateful for their perseverance under these extreme circumstances.

To our very own pipe band, a huge thank you for all their support throughout the week. A few ‘spots of rain’ can never spoil the skirl o’ the pipes and there is always a great feeling whenever they start up and lead our processions.

To the townspeople of Duns, who not only turned out when it was dry, they turned out when it was wet; it was previously mentioned at the reception earlier in the week that if it can be done in Hawick and Selkirk, then it can be done in Duns, and it certainly was.

To each and every single person who contributed in any way towards the success of Reiver’s Week 2012, I say a very big thank you. Here’s to Reiver’s Week 2013.

A date to remember: Saturday, October 27 - Soup and Pudding Lunch in Duns British Legion. Keep a look out for posters nearer the time.

RONALD D. DRUMMOMND,

Chairman,

Duns Summer Festival.

Academy pupils were a credit to the school

SIR, - Paxton House was the venue for Berwick Academy’s year 11 prom and I should like to commend the committee (Hannah Cummins, Sophie Renton, Heather Straughan, Naomi Purvis, Ryan Johnston, George Murray, Hannah Bloxham) on the organisation of the evening.

Over 120 young people attended and should all be complimented on the standard of dress and the behaviour shown throughout the evening. The event was a credit to the school.

MARTHA ANDREWS,

Curatorial Officer,

Paxton House.

Hair shave raises cash for Macmillan

SIR, - I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who supported me in my fundraising head shave in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support – the wonderful organisation who gave me so much help and guidance when I was diagnosed with and treated for lung cancer in 2008.

There is still money coming in but the total exceeds £3,320 which is absolutely fantastic!

Thank you once again on behalf of myself, Macmillan and the huge numbers of cancer patients who will be helped by them.

My hair is growing at some rate now and I have been enjoying very quick showers with no hair faffing required!

MOIRA TAYLOR-SMITH,

Duns

Searching for relatives in Berwickshire

SIR, - I live in Melbourne, Australia and I’m looking for any descendants of George Johnston and Margaret Nisbet from the Coldingham, Cockburnspath area.

My great Grandfather, William Johnston (DOB: 03/09/1821 - Coldingham) son of Margaret and George, came to Australia around 1848.

He had brothers named George (DOB: 18/08/1811 – Cockburnspath), James (DOB: 14/07/1807 – Cockburnspath), John (DOB: 15/01/1818 – Coldingham) and a sister, Alison (DOB: 08/05/1812 – Cockburnspath.

A Margaret Nisbet was born 27/02/1774 in the parish of Coldingham.

Her parent’s names were John and Isobel Nisbet. I don’t know if this is George’s Margaret, or not.

If anyone out there can shed some light on my family’s history in Scotland, I’d be delighted to hear from you.

You may contact me at: bazadoo@yahoo.com.au or by post at Mr B Johnston, PO Box 167, Coldstream, 3770, Australia.

BARRY JOHNSTON.

An independent Scotland’s currency

SIR, - Ireland had a currency union with the UK from 1922 to 1979.

If Scotland chose independence surely there is no obstacle to Scotland keeping the pound in exactly the same way is there? Why then are the Better Together campaign making scare stories about an independent Scotland being forced into joining the Euro?

Please credit the Scottish people with more intelligence than that.

The voters will see right through it. Better Together are setting up their own skittles just to knock them down again. I urge the supporters of Better Together to stay positive.

If they continue campaigning in this negative way they will lose the argument, the hearts and minds of the Scottish voters, the referendum and the UK.

NIGEL BODDY,

Fife Road,

Darlington.

Olympic Torch at Greenlaw

SIR, - May I, on behalf of the people of Greenlaw and the many visitors who lined the streets on Thursday, June 14, to welcome the Olympic torch as it passed through the village, express our thanks to the pipers, who at short notice and with work commitments gave up their time to pipe it on its way.

It added greatly to the atmosphere and I’m sure was appreciated by everyone. Thanks to Rob Bell and his son from Coldstream.

HAMISH TROTTER,

Flora Bank,

Greenlaw.

Thanks from BAAGS

SIR, - Please could we say a very heartfelt thank you to everyone who showed their support to our committee member, Duncan Cameron.

Duncan recently spent two days in Tesco, Galashiels, shaking his collecting can and inviting donations towards our upgrading of the Carer Van.

On Wednesday and Thursday, July 12, Tesco management gave permission for BAAGS to promote what they offer to the people of the Borders.

Thank you to everyone involved in helping Duncan raise over £520, a huge amount of money all given by the customers of Tesco, thank you all so much.

The money will be used towards the cost of upgrading the van to a more Eco-Friendly model which will offer a bit more comfort to the residents, be more economical to heat and save on heating and water bills, but also leave a smaller carbon footprint, but still keeping the cost to the families affordable and as low as possible.

Thank you to everyone who recognises the need some families have for respite/short-breaks and show their support to BAAGS by making donations and offering us encouragement. We need your support to keep us supporting you.

DEREK PURVIS,

Chairman,

Borders Asperger and Autism Group Support.

Coldstream Flower Show coffee morning

SIR, - Coldstream Flower Show committee would like to thank everyone who supported the coffee morning in many ways, on a very wet Saturday, July 14.

We raised the magnificent sum of £380. which will go towards staging the annual Coldstream Open Flower Show, to be held this year on September 15, in Coldstream Community Centre.

LESLEY LILLIE,

Secretary.

Kind donation to Duns Pipe Band

SIR, - Duns Pipe Band would like to thank Janice Wait and all her staff and patrons at the Plough in Duns for the kind donation of £468 to the band fund for which we are extremely grateful.

Equipment these days is expensive with chanters starting at £150 and drums costing from £400.

Each set of uniform can cost in excess of £500 from new so every penny we receive is always put to good use.

COLIN TURNER and ANDREW AINSLIE,

Duns Pipe Band.

Tremendous Duns Reiver’s Week

SIR, - I would like to congratulate Reiver Martin, Reiver’s Lass Claire, their attendants Scott and Iona, and Wynsome Mayde Abbie and her court for another tremendous Duns Reiver’s Week.

Throughout every weather condition our lovely summer could throw at us you carried on and did Duns proud, as did all your fellow Dingers who followed and supported you throughout the week.

Duns definitely ‘dings a’.

A ‘DINGER’,

(Name and address supplied to the editor).