Andrew Douglas-Home awarded OBE in New Year Honours List

Andrew Douglas-Home is awarded an OBE
Andrew Douglas-Home is awarded an OBE

COLDSTREAM’S Andrew Douglas-Home has been made an OBE in the New Year Honours List for services to fishing and Scottish heritage.

There are also honours for East Lothian Council’s George Fairgrieve (OBE), north east MEP Fiona Hall (MBE), Chirnisde’s Carol Walton (MBE) and Ford’s James Mole (BEM).

Mr Douglas-Home has ben recognised for his three decades’ service with the River Tweed Commissioners - from which he recently stood down as chairman after eight years - together with the Tweed Foundation, as well as his role with the Abbotsford Trust.

After eight years of service, Mr Douglas-Home stepped down in March as chief commissioner of the River Tweed Commission and chairman of The Tweed Foundation.

He is also a trustee for the Abbotsford Trust, which aims to conserve the home of Sir Walter Scott, for the benefit of current and future generations.

Mr Dougals-Home working tirelessly for the good of the River Tweed during his eight-year tenure, undertaking a huge amount of work and addressing several important issues.

Perhaps his biggest achievement was the passing of new legislation under which the commission operates in 2006.

He was responsible for raising the profile of the risk to the river from the bug, Gyrodactylus salaris (popularly known as “Gs”).

He also came up with the idea and then led the initiative which saw The Tweed Foundation working with The Wheelyboat Trust to build a new innovative design of boat for less-able anglers that could be used in fast-flowing, spate rivers entirely safely.

The RTC celebrated its bicentenary in 2007 with an event at Abbotsford House, where Mr Douglas-Home is also involved as a trustee, overseeing the multi-million pound project to build new visitor facilities.

Mr Douglas-Home said it had come as a complete surprise when he received notification of the honour.

“I am delighted as hopefully the publicity it generates will help highlight the tremendous work these organisations and their staff do.

“They are organisations very much driven by team effort.”

He remains a commissioner and has seen much change along the river since 1983, when he first joined.

“Things are now a lot better for the Tweed. I think it is now the best salmon river in the UK and, in my opinion, the best Atlantic salmon river anywhere.

“I am very honoured to receive this award, but the success of these organisations that look after the Tweed are due to their staff; people like Tweed Foundation director Nick Yonge and his colleagues, and it is their efforts that have made the management of the Tweed the envy of all river organisations.”

With his other hat on as a trustee of the Abbotsford Trust, Mr Douglas-Home is involved with the multi-million pound renovation project currently underway at the Abbotsford House former home of the novelist, Sir Walter Scott.

Mr Douglas-Home was one of the three executors of the estate of the late Dame Jean Maxwell-Scott, who along with her sister, the late Mrs Patricia Maxwell-Scott, were direct descendants of the novelist, and had looked after the great house for more than half a century.

“Dame Jean’s will was discretionary in that she left it up to the executors to decide what should be done with the house,” he explained.

“She and her sister had looked after the house amazingly well for 54 years. I was the link between the family and the trust and the renovation project has been very much a team effort also.

“So I don’t know why I have been picked out to be honoured in this way, except perhaps as I was one of the ‘first on the scene’ as it were.

“Nevertheless I am very pleased, if slightly embarrassed.”

East Lothian Council’s food safety/health and safety manager George Fairgrieve, from North Berwick, also receives an OBE. A director at Berwick Bandits, he is chair of the Scottish Food Enforcement Liaison Committee and is recognised for his services to consumer protection.

Carol Walton, formerly of Chirnside, was awarded an MBE for services to midwifery and breastfeeding mothers in Wales.

Carol lived in Chirnside, and was a much appreciated midwife at Coldstream Cottage Hospital.

The family moved to Wales, but Carol still has many friends in Berwickshire.

Alnwick’s Fiona Hall, the north east of England’s Member of the European Parliament and leader of the Liberal Democrat MEPs, has been given an MBE for public and political service.

James Mole, the retired head gardener at Ford and Etal Estates, has been awarded the British Empire Medal for services to the community in Ford.

The 73-year-old of Linthaugh Farm Cottages, near Ford, has worked for Lord and Lady Joicey for nearly 51 years, over 30 of them as head gardener.