Your picture of the Week

Shafts of morning sunlight pierce their way through cloud over the Cheviots.
Shafts of morning sunlight pierce their way through cloud over the Cheviots.

Shafts of morning sunlight pierce their way through cloud over the Cheviots in this image taken by Fiona Crook, of Hume.

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Whenever I write a letter to you, it comes from the heart because I am passionate about the subject – usually independence.

They are written without reference to any other individual or group, or in collusion with them, and I take full responsibility for the content.

Some of your better-informed readers may have heard about a pressure group called Scotland in Union, and I think its agenda is fairly obvious.

It is far from a grass-roots organisation as it seeks its funding within the gentlemen’s clubs of London, and its list of funders is heavy with members of the aristocracy, wealthy and elite.

They do not rattle collecting tins on high streets.

Within this very well-funded group is a letter-writing circle; they coordinate and support each other’s letters to newspapers.

They wanted their activities kept secret and it remained that way until a recent leak. The question is why? Are they ashamed of their covert deception? Are they trying to reverse the growing support for independence?

Well, yes, that much is true, but it’s not working.

However, I believe the real reason they wished to stay below the parapet is that if the general public discovered they were being deceived via the letters pages of newspapers, they would lose all credibility.

May I repeat a comment I’ve made before.

We independence supporters know that any false claim we make will be pounced on by a largely hostile media, whereas any old lie the Unionists claim will go unquestioned.

So when you read seemingly genuine Union-supporting letters in your newspaper, do so with a very jaundiced eye. Caveat emptor (buyer beware).

Richard Walthew

Whitsome Crofts



Last Thursday I was walking with my Labrador near Lauder when the dog followed her nose and came on 11 pheasants which had been shot, tied together with twine and dumped, like so much rubbish – killed for “pleasure”.

Over the last few weeks, your sister title, The Southern Reporter, has featured colour spreads on the Jed Forest, Duke of Buccleuch’s Hunt and Lauderdale hunts. As I recall, two members of the Jed Forest hunt were convicted of illegal hunting last year.

The latest opinion poll shows 84% of the electorate opposed to fox hunting, including 80% in rural areas.

After the general election last year, surveys showed that the Conservatives lost thousands of votes with their pledge (now scrapped) to give MPs a free vote on repealing hunting legislation.

On January 4, The Southern reported on hare coursing near Duns and Gifford, the cruel killing of hares by lurchers or greyhounds which rip the animals apart. Five men were arrested and charged.

A wildlife crime officer described hare coursing as “brutal” and “senseless”.

The same could be said for shooting and hunting.

Is it not time the Borders moved out of the 19th century?

William Loneskie



On behalf of the British Heart Foundation’s Eyemouth branch, I would like to thank everyone who attended our recent coffee morning in the Mason’s Hall, and also everyone who bought tickets for our Christmas raffle.

The raffle and coffee morning raised a fantastic combined total of £1,259.

The committee would like to say a massive thank-you to everyone who contributes to our fundraising throughout the year, whether it is attending our coffee mornings, baking for them, or buying or selling raffle tickets.

We are always amazed at how generous the people of Eyemouth and the surrounding area are.

Karen Smith

(secretary, BHF Eyemouth branch)


We would like to express our thanks to everyone who donated prizes and bought tickets for The Knoll Hospital (Duns) Christmas raffle.

The amazing sum of £472 was raised.

Proceeds from the raffle will be put towards patient rehab activities, equipment and outings.

Brenda Allam and staff at The Knoll Hospital

Macmillan fundraiser

The Duns committee of Macmillan Cancer Support would like to say a big thank-you to all who organised and took part in the dominoes, raffles and quiz held in the Waterloo Arms Hotel, Chirnside.

Also to all who have donated money and placed spare coins into the bottle which was opened on New Year’s Day.

The grand total of £450 was raised. This amount is a good start to our financial year of fundraising. In excess of £10k was sent to Macmillan Cancer Support, from Duns committee, for utilisation in the Border General Hospital and Margaret Kerr Palliative Care Unit.

All monies raised in the Borders stays in the Borders.

Joyce Blaikie


Trinity Park



Robert Johnstone Alexander, born 21/01/1879, lived with his parents (mother Frances) at Rose Cottage, Roxburgh.

He was a postman who later joined the 1/8th Battalion London Post Office Rifles. He was a rifleman and was sent to serve in France where he was killed in action on 21/05/1916 at Arras, aged 37.

George was Robert’s brother who married Janet Broomfield and the pair emigrated to Pennsylvania, USA, in 1908 where daughter Florence was born in 1910.

The family returned to Scotland where Janet died, aged only 45, in1916.

George and Florence probably returned to the USA.

Are you related in any way to Robert Johnstone Alexander?

He is commemorated on the war memorials in Arras, Kelso and Roxburgh.

I have his First World War memorial plaque and would like it to be returned to his ancestors in return for a donation to charity of its value of approximately £50. My email address is

Elizabeth Theo




The power-sharing arrangement of the Good Friday Agreement means that Sinn Fein and the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) are trapped in a loveless marriage.

Nothing has changed. Gerry Adams, although retired as president of Sinn Fein recently, will still rear his menacing head when required. Vice-president Mary Lou McDonald is the only realistic candidate to succeed Adams and is well placed to keep him informed on all matters of interest

Sinn Fein-IRA work to long-term strategies.

This is to hold on to power on both sides of the border and ultimately form a united Ireland and country. They will seek to exploit the “uncertainty of Brexit” which is relevant to people both sides of the Irish border.

There are echoes of this same situation coming from elsewhere – from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and republican Scottish nationalists. They preach the same gospel for the same political purpose – i.e. republicanism and destroying the monarchy of the United Kingdom.

We, too, must keep a long-term vision and reclaim southern Ireland as it was part of our United Kingdom. That will not be before we get a government strong enough to face Sinn Fein-IRA internment (which we have not had since the inception of the IRA in 1905).

This political problem will not go away for generations and only a strong government can solve it for us after Brexit is finalised.

Paul Singleton



Unlike your correspondent Lintie Gibson (January 11), I actually enjoy “serial letter writers”.

Perhaps I should declare an interest.

Even as I draft this letter on my messy breakfast table, I am surrounded by packets of porridge, Weetabix and cornflakes.

Douglas Hunter