Fond farewell to a local legend

Gerald Tait was unique and will be sadly missed by his family and many friends.
Gerald Tait was unique and will be sadly missed by his family and many friends.

Saturday, February 26, saw the very sad passing of Gerald Tait - a Northumbrian, who came north to Coldstream at the age of 27 and left an indelible mark on the community.

He immediately joined the cricket club, a springboard to his involvement in many aspects of the town.

Football had always been a passion, having played for Hedgeley, Wooler and Coldstream and after finishing his playing career at Eyemouth he joined Coldstream Football Club committee and served as secretary and chairman for many years. His greatest achievement was securing the club’s continued SFA membership, obtaining substantial grant monies to meet the stringent SFA criteria.

Gerald was secretary, treasurer, chairman and life member of Wooler Cricket Club: a prolific bowler he held the record for the number of wickets taken in one season and on one occasion took ten wickets playing against RAF Boulmer, hence his email address tenwickettait!

At Norham Running Club he was known as the ‘Galloping Giraffe and later in life his main sporting interest was golf, serving the Hirsel Golf Club as captain and president.

Gerald was a keen member of Coldstream Burns Club and served as treasurer for 17 years, writing a detailed history of the club. History was another passion and he was a long time member of Coldstream History Society, initiating the book ‘Second to None’ and as secretary of Flodden 1513 Club, he played a major part in the organisation of the 500th anniversary of the battle. His authorship continued with ‘US Presidents: Trends and Impact’, which was published recently and his final writing project about the Coldstream Parish Church plaques will completed by a friend. As a kirk elder this was a task dear to his heart.

A prominent member of the Coldstream Community Trust Gerald organised and helped run many social events, such as the walking festival, beer festival and numerous concerts in which he always played a part.

Coldstream Energy Switch was one of his favourite projects, helping people save money in switching energy suppliers. He also organised volunteers to carry out path maintenance, litter picking, tidying the memorial garden and Jacob’s Well and was involved in a traffic survey of HGVs. Coldstream Community Action Plan was also something he was deeply involved in initiating and developing.

Probably the greatest of his achievements was the conservation of the Auld Kirk at Lennel, which was recognised by an invitation to enter the Angel Awards competition, and was runner-up at the awards ceremony in Edinburgh.

Gerald was born on March 21, 1952 in Newcastle and lived with his family at Laverock Law near Lowick, Haughead and Wooler. He met his wife Susan at a dance in the College Valley in 1972, they married on September 21, 1974, and had three children - Martyn, Andrew and Stephanie.

He began his working life with Alnwick District Council and Alnwick Rural Council, moving to Gateshead Metropolitan Council, Scottish Borders Council, then Midlothian District Council as auditor and risk manager.

Gerald was completely unique and will be a huge miss to his family and his many friends. He had an irrepressible sense of humour, a twinkle in his eye, always ready for a laugh and the ability of not being afraid to laugh at himself.

He will be sorely missed as the community caring, sport playing, committee attending, Friday Club beer drinking, speech making, Newcastle United supporting, joke telling, Delilah singing and family-loving legend he surely was.