Obituaries

Sky

Peter Rhodes, Mayfield Gardens, Kelso

31 August 2016

Patrick Dale Wood

23rd March 2016

Pat was born in 1927 in East Grinstead in Sussex, the only child of Raymond & Winifred Wood. He was a keen reader by the age of three, a passion that continued for the rest of his life. His father was a Chartered Surveyor, the same profession that Pat would also choose. After early schooling in East Grinstead he attended Sherbourne School in Dorset. Following Sherbourne he was conscripted as a farmers boy at Busses Farm, near his home, in January 1945.

After the war, Pat started work at his father’s firm while studying for his professional exams. He continued to work there until his retirement in the early nineties. During this period he joined the Surrey Gliding Club at Redhill. He became a proficient pilot and continued flying on and off for the next thirty years. It was at Redhill that he met Vonca (Veronica as we knew her), who was then living in London where she was training as a nurse at St. Thomas’ Hospital. They married in 1954, driving up to Cape Wrath in a Ford Prefect for a camping holiday for their honeymoon.

Penny was born then John and Colin and the themes of camping and Scotland were to continue to figure prominently in their annual holidays for the next twenty years. They also had a small dinghy which was towed up to the west coast on several occasions and sailing was to become another hobby in his retirement, mainly with their Dutch friends Henk, Sam and Liesbeth. After the children left home there were more adventurous holidays, visiting friends and relatives in Canada, Alaska and New Zealand, and trekking up to 18,000 feet in the Himalayas.

What was important to his children was that he was always there; that they always felt truly loved – even though he was the least demonstrative of parents. Quiet and patient, gentle and kind, always supportive and interested in their lives and achievements and always devoted to their mother, he had an unfailing sense of humour that went far beyond his rather engaging habit of chuckling quietly at intervals throughout the day at a joke he’d been told the night before.
Pat had many talents. He had a Private Pilot’s Licence, he went ballooning, he was a bee-keeper. He was involved in local history both in Sussex, where he was member of the Sussex Archaeological society, and latterly in the borders. He wrote a history of the Parish of Oxnam from the Middle Ages as well as other papers on Ednam and Yetholm in recent years. He was a self-taught Church Recorder, latterly at St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh.

He and Vonca were also keen gardeners, creating a beautiful garden in Sussex and in Oxnam, landscaping their wood to make a great playground for visiting grandchildren. On a smaller scale they created another lovely garden from scratch in Kelso.

Pat was someone of great integrity and ingenuity, a true stalwart and an inspiration to his children, his grandchildren and all who met him. Through his lifetime love of reading – albeit at three words at a time (enlarged on his iPad) near the end, he was akin to a living Wikipedia.

Anna Rodwell

Jane (Jean)McDonald Wardrop

9th December 2015

Jane McDonald Hendry was born at home, Lochill farm, Ringford, Castle Douglas, on 1st December 1932. She was the second child of Janet and John Hendry, a little sister for John and later for Jim.

Jean grew up on the farm at Lochill where the family lived until she was 10 years old and they moved to Chapel, Kirkcudbright.

Jean enjoyed school and took the brave step of going up to Edinburgh to study nursing when she left. She loved nursing, she was a really caring person. After successfully qualifying as a nurse returned home. Jean loved being on the farm where she worked with her brothers and her mother in the house.

Jean was an active church member, as she had been all her life. She was also involved with the Young Farmers and was secretary of the Stewartry branch. It was at the Young Farmers that Jean would meet a certain James Craig Wardrop. Jim farmed at Auchenfranco. Jim and Jean were married at Tarff Church in June 1960 and they started married life at Auchenfranco. Jean was over the moon when family life started with the birth of Thomas then Janet. The children became and remained the focus of her life. Pastures new were sought in Leicestershire and Jim farmed there with John until John emigrated to Australia and Jim applied for the tenancy of Harden Mains. Jim became an Elder in Oxnam Kirk and Jean joined the Women’s Guild. When Jim and Jean arrived at Harden Mains the farm was needing a lot of work but Jim was driven and he was not averse to hard work. Jim and Jean happily took on the challenge and turned the farm round. They made a lot of good friends in the Oxnam valley and beyond. Jean was a very keen gardener and she was very supportive of Jim and all his work on the farm.

Jim farmed at Harden Mains when he tragically died and Jean and Tom were left to pick up the reins of the farm and go on. Tom worked in partnership with his mother and they worked well together. When Jean could see Tom was managing well she moved back to Kirkcudbright for a few years before coming ‘home’ to settle in Jed. Whilst in Kirkcudbright Jean made friends, joined the local Ramblers and enjoyed many walks along the coast and into the countryside. Gardening, doing library runs with the elderly and helping with meals on wheels also gave her much pleasure and a sense of purpose. Jean wanted to be closer to her children who had now both married and started families of their own. Jean was over the moon when Andrew, William and Daniel were born. She was a doting grandmother.

Home was now at 69 Castlegate, Jedburgh and Jean was happy there. She made new friends and counted herself very fortunate in her neighbours. Jean had many interests including reading, helping out in the Sue Ryder shop and gardening, including the Council rose bed in front of her home. She had a beautiful back garden where she felt like she was back in the country. She also liked to follow sport on TV, especially keeping up with the football scores, watching rugby and tennis. Jean enjoyed trips to Australia visiting her brother, John, sister-in-law Catherine and family and also Anna Jackson on the occasion of her wedding. She was undaunted by travelling on her own and loved the heat, the open spaces and freedom of Australia.

Jean was an independent, determined lady who put others first before herself. She loved to be with family and friends but she was also happy in her own company.

Taken from Tributes by Anna Rodwell & Kate Jackson

James Riddell Turnbull

21st July 2015, Blair Avenue, Jedburgh (formerly of Oxnam Green)

James Riddell Turnbull was born at Newbigging Bush. He lived his whole life [untiltwo years ago] in the Oxnam Valley. He was baptised in the Kirk in Oxnam. Jimmy’s mother played the organ in the Kirk and Jimmy’s father would walk to the service or take the pony and gig.

Jimmy went to Oxnam School and then on to Jedburgh Grammar School.

He had a wee sister, Margaret.

When Jimmy was not at the school he would be working on the farm, helping his father, he loved working on the farm. He loved ploughing with the Clydesdales – Peg and Jean. Throughout his life, no matter what, he could remember their names – Peg and Jean.

Jimmy left school at 13 to work on the farm. He was a member of the Oxnam Young Farmers. Jimmy worked hard on the farm and looked forward to the local dances at the weekend. Jimmy and his father worked the farm on their own with the help of some seasonal workers.

It was at a dance one night that Jimmy met Betty. They both liked to dance and they got on really well. They started walking out together.

Betty lived at home and looked after her father.

I asked Betty how or when Jimmy had proposed and she said, well after my father died I just said to Jimmy : “I think we should get married”! Jimmy thought that was a splendid idea and that’s what they did. They were married at Oxnam Kirk by a very young Bill Thompson.

Married life began on the farm at Newbigging Bush. Jimmy and Betty worked away together just fine. They were a handsome couple.

They attended the Kirk together. Jimmy joined the Oxnam Bowlers and many happy evenings were had in Oxnam Hall, not just at the Bowling but at many local events – Burns Suppers, Harvest Suppers, Dances – Jimmy and Betty were part of the bedrock of the Oxnam Valley Community.

Jimmy and Betty were blessed with two children; Ann Elizabeth and Mark James.

Jimmy was a lovely Dad. He loved his family and his life on the farm. After many happy years they came out of the farm and moved to Oxnam Neuk and from there to Oxnam Green.

Jimmy liked to be in the village and finally had time to spend in his garden. He still worked here and there and always did the lambings at Middleknowes.

Jimmy was glad to welcome a son-in-law and a daughter-in-law into the family. Later he was delighted to be a grandfather to Shona, Kevin, Jack and Rachael and a Great-Grandfather to little Rory.
Jimmy worked right up until he was 80.

Jimmy spent almost all of his life in the Oxnam valley and his character will be sorely missed by all who knew him.

Anna Rodwell

Frank Clayton

8 June 2015. Shibden, Rennieston, Jedburgh

Frank tried to join up when he was 16! He was rumbled and turned away.

As soon as he was 17, he was back. Frank was a Grenadier Guard and trained at Chelsea Barracks. Frank saw and did many things during the war that he kept to himself. One thing he did say was, he went into the army a boy and came out a man.

He was blown up at Marreth, which he said was the nearest thing to a living hell; he fought at Monte Casino; he was part of the North African Landings; he was a Desert Rat; he shared a birthday cake with a German soldier to celebrate the German boy’s 21st, when he got separated from his company; he was wounded in Italy and walked 1,000 miles [with lifts along the way] to re-join his Regiment after convalescing in Rome.

After the war, Frank had a Brough Superior Motorbike which he loved. He biked from Leicester to Gibraltar with a friend in the days when you could only take £25 out of the country. Frank had a jest for life and appreciated every minute of it. He and his friend travelled light and slept on beaches!
Later he had a motorbike and side car and sitting in the side car would be his faithful Alsatian Dog! Frank loved dogs. He also loved horses and he had a stunningly beautiful Arab horse called Fareed.

Frank met and married Joan and they were very happy together.When Joan died of cancer, Frank was devastated. It was whilst tending to his horse, just after Joan had died, that Frank met a certain Margaret. Margaret had lost her husband and recognised Frank’s pain. She offered some words of advice: “it is bleak, but it does get easier.” Six months later they met again and a friendship struck up.

Frank and Margaret were married in Kelso on the 18th March, twenty three years ago. Frank had ridden through the Border hills on riding holidays in the past and had fallen in love with the area. He had even ridden past the Renniston Road End! Frank and Margaret came up to the area on holiday, and before the holiday was out, they found themselves to be the proud owners of Shibden, Rennieston. There was a field for Fareed, and a stable going free, so they moved up complete with Tess the dog and Toastie the cat. Together Frank and Margaret set about creating their own ‘little piece of heaven’, in the Oxnam Valley.

In time, Frank and Margaret were embraced by the community and they in turn rolled up their sleeves and got involved. Frank joined the church, helped at RDA, joined the stick dressers and spent a lot of time in the garden [under strict supervision you understand]. The garden was open to the public on three separate occasions over the years. Frank loved his fruit trees and his vegetables – not forgetting the prize winning Bonsai. He also loved growing roses and would often bring one in at the end of the day for Margaret.Frank loved this place and it was his supreme wish to end his days here. He had so many good friends here and was truly happy.

Frank and Margaret travelled all over Europe together, they visited New Zealand several times to visit Frank’s motor biking friend. They travelled to America – Frank always had an open and enquiring mind and willing to listen and to learn. He travelled to Holland, France and Belgium to visit the Battlefields. He went back to Salerno to visit the war graves there – he knew so many of those remembered there and was deeply moved by the experience.

Ill health came only latterly. Frank was fit and healthy right up to his 90th Birthday. The past year saw Frank in and out of hospital, but he never gave up. Right up until the end he would say, “when I am better…”

Only a few days before he died he was looking out over Scott’s view, admiring the 100 shades of green followed by afternoon tea at the garden centre.

When Frank married Margaret he was blessed by her family and Frank was very fond of Barbara and Graham and Philip and Sandra and all their children.

Frank was a true gentleman and here today we say farewell to a strong, gentle, loving man. The world is a poorer place without him.

Anna Rodwell

Diana Cairns

6th April 2015, Netherwells, Oxnam, Jedburgh

Diana Mary was born on 9th May 1957 to Angus and Connie Logan who at the time were farming at Kent Mere Hall near Kendal. Diana’s sister, Judy, was born 6 years later and they got along very well together and did things together just as sisters do.

Diana’s school life began near Kendal then she went on to be a boarder at Casterton. Ponies and pony club with Oxenholme and later the Buccleuch were a regular date for Diana and she became an accomplished horse woman. Pony Club summer camp was always an opportunity for high jinx. She would be seen riding hell for leather round the courses and taking part in hunter trials with success. She followed the hunt with her father and Uncle, Rollie Harker.

Diana left school at 16 and had a part-time job in Ron and Margaret Turner’s antique shop. Next stop was Eggleston Hall, a finishing school near Barnard Castle, where Diana learnt, amongst other things, cordon bleu cookery and floristry. She used both of these skills to great aplomb throughout her life.

Next stop was Edinburgh and Diana went to work for Mrs Hotson in the Edinburgh flower shop. It was about this time Diana got involved with Oxnam Young Farmers and her romance with Douglas began. Just before her marriage to Douglas, Diana was diagnosed with diabetes – a huge blow to her but in true Diana fashion she was not going to let it make a difference to her life. However, it certainly did give her challenges and for her family and friends too.

Douglas and Diana married in 1979 and moved to Swinside Townfoot where they began to farm together. She was hard working and extremely capable. With Douglas and Swinside came his mother Jean-Ann and her two sisters, Nance and Ella. Most women get one mother-in-law but Diana got three!

Along came their dearly loved boys Jamie first then Andrew. Diana was always proud of her boys. Their antics a great source of pleasure to her and Douglas. She was a very committed and supportive mother. Family holidays were always looked forward to as well as the annual Round Table conferences with family fun and dressing up.

Following Judy’s sudden death, which was a huge blow to Diana and the family, Diana took over the running of South Riccalton from her father. The family moved and Douglas began to ‘commute’ as he put it, to his farm at Swinside.

Diana had a great many interests, talents and friendships. She greatly valued her friendships and was a loyal, caring, sometimes erratic, friend. She would drop in to discuss her latest triumphs, trials and tribulations. At times she sought advice, hearing of course, only what she wanted to hear – as was Diana’s way! Her closest friends provided her with a great support when times were difficult. Equally, we shared many times filled with happiness and laugher. Her many interests outside farming included Ladies Circle of which she was the first chairwoman and she was also a keen bridge player (or ‘whist’ as Douglas called it!)

Foot and mouth reared its head and after it passed Douglas gave up Swinside Hall and he and Diana worked together at Riccalton. The boys were growing up and Jamie, having finished his studies and travels, came home to work. Douglas and Jamie worked well together and Diana learned to stand back a bit. Diana decided to embark on a new venture and using her previous experience and research, Stems of Jedburgh was born. However, not content with a new business, she volunteered to be chairman of the newly constituted Traders Association. So typically of Diana always being involved and committed. Promoting Jedburgh became her mission.

Diana took delight in her boys, Jamie and Andrew and was thrilled to welcome first Natalie and then Emily to the family. The icing on the cake was the birth of granddaughter Imogen followed by Emilia. With the expansion of the family Diana and Douglas moved to Netherwells.

With the onset of Douglas’s illness, Diana’s time in the shop came to an end as she focussed on Douglas. She searched tirelessly for ways to make him better. Sadly he passed away nearly three years ago. Jamie, Andrew, Natalie and Emily were a huge support to Diana at this time and baby Imogen a comfort. Douglas and Diana’s friends continued to rally round – to be there for Diana. Over time she began to return to interests old and new as well as caring for her mother, Connie.

We had hoped so much that Diana had recovered from her illness of last August and was appearing so positive in her life. But, Diana’s active involvement in life masked the concerns, of which only her family and closest friends were aware.

The Diana we remember was a larger than life character! She did everything at full tilt and possessed a huge sense of duty and loyalty towards her family, friends and local community. She was extremely hard working but not good a delegating.

Diana was a country girl born and bred. She was totally absorbed in farming and had an extensive knowledge of it. She was happy in the yard around the horses, sheep, cattle and dogs. She didn’t mind getting stuck into any task no matter how messy! As a team, Douglas and Diana were brilliant hosts. There was always lovely food, many stories and much laughter.

Diana
You touched so many lives;
You always had another project on the horizon,
Another problem to solve,
Another mountain to climb.
But when you left us in the end,
It was too soon for us my friend.
Daughter, mother, granny too,
So much more for you to do.
You must have felt that it was time,
As no more mountains could you climb.

An Extract taken from the tribute
by Diana’s close friends at her funeral

Dorothy Haig

3 February 2015, Howden Farm Cottages, Jedburgh

Dorothy Haig was born on 23rd December 1963. The family home was West Nisbet Hillhead.

Dorothy was a little sister for James and mother Robina and father James were over the moon. James Kirk senior was a herd and moved regularly. The next move took them to Town O’ Rule and it was from there that Dot started school at Hobkirk Primary. The next move was to Scraesburgh and from there Dot went to Parkside school. When the new Howdenburn primary school opened, Dot moved there and then she went to Jedburgh Grammar. Neighbours at Scraesburgh, the Threadgalls, had ponies and they taught Dot how to ride. When in her teens Dot hired a horse and rode at the Festival.

When Dot left school she started to work at the Royal Bank of Scotland in Jedburgh. Dot liked being in the Bank and made many good friends. She still stayed with her parents and the family home was now Crailinghall.

One of Dot’s friends had gone to work in America so Dot decided she would go out for a visit. Off she went, on her own, to Washington. She loved her visit. There were concerts, excursions, adventures of all kinds. When she came home, her dad picked her up from the airport. It was a miserable day and Dot looked at her dad , looked at the sky and said ‘Dad, honest, there’s a blue sky up there!’

Dot played basketball for a local club who practiced in the school games hall three nights a week. There was a men’s team too and it was at the basketball that Dot Kirk met a certain Neil Haig and they started going out together. They went together for an age and their friends used to tease them that they were going for the record. Finally they got engaged and had possibly the shortest engagement possible! Dot and Neil were married in Oxnam Kirk on 28th May 1994.

Dot and Neil set up home at Howden farm cottages. Neil was a painter and Dot continued to work in the bank. They still played basketball three times a week but there were also trips to the cinema and visits to Jeanette and Tommy Dodds. Dot and Neil could pop in to Tommy and Jeanette’s at 10 in the morning and still be there at midnight!! There were holidays in the Lakes, up North, Corfu … life was good. Dot and the girls from work, Jill, Ruth and Isobel, would go off for weekends together and have a riot. Dot had a great sense of fun and would always get involved in the fancy dress at the festival.

On 15th July 1998 Fiona Haig was born. Dot and Neil were delighted. Dot loved being a mother.

Dot became ill with cancer a year after Fiona was born. She was so brave, so stoic. She would have her treatment one day and be back at work the next. Now there was no basketball, Dot turned to her creative side. When Fiona was wee, Dot’s hands were never idle. Dot sewed, quilted and cross-stitched. She was very gifted with her hands. She started quilting with a group in Kelso then moved to the Oxnam group.

All the lovely things Jim and Robina had done when she was a child, Dot now loved to do with Fiona and her cousins. There were trips up the Bowmont and the Kale. There were baggies and jeely jars, there was paddling and picnics and every Easter it was up the Eildons to role the eggs. Dot also started walking with Lorraine and they loved to walk with the children. Dot then decided to start running. She wanted to give something back. She started training with Lorraine and loved it. She did the Great North Run and the Moon Walk in Edinburgh one freezing night. She did the Race for Life three times with Fiona and once with Jeanette and Lorraine. Dot carried on working but more importantly, she was a mum. She cared for Fiona with her heart and soul and she fought to stay with her. She was a loving, caring God-mother to Craig and Holly. She was a wonderful Aunt to Katriona, Kieran, Craig, Euan and Holly and also to Scott and Callum.

Dot was an important part of the Oxnam community. She was always serving teas or helping at things in the village. She had a strong faith and would slip
quietly into church, often with Jeanette. Dot liked to cook and bake, she made Christmas dinner last Christmas. In all the years Dot was ill she had only two sick notes!

Dot was an inspiration to us. You will all have examples of this, but for me it was last Tuesday. When I saw her, she looked radiant, calm and beautiful. When I stupidly asked ‘how are you?’ she said ‘bloomin marvellous!’ and she was. She had all her family around her, supporting her and when I looked like I might start crying she looked at me and said ‘ don’t you dare …’
A remarkable woman.

Anna Rodwell

James Murray Yourston

3 July 2014, Cleuchside, Oxnam, Jedburgh

James Murray Yourston was born on 9th October 1934 at Lanton Hill. He was the only child of Janet Tennant Neil and James Murray Yourston. James senior farmed at Lanton Hill and as the young James grew, he was immersed in the everyday life on the farm.

School days started for Jimmy at Lanton Primary and from there he progressed to Jedburgh Grammar School, however, it would be fair to say that Jimmy was not an enthusiastic scholar – he couldn’t wait to leave school. He would help out around the farm at home but hated hens! When he left school he got a job working on the lorries, loading them up and scrubbing them down. Jimmy loved the independence this job brought, but come harvest time, he had to go back and help out on the farm. Jimmy would look forward to the dances at the weekend. Most nights out would start in Hawick. He would meet up with friends and together they would head off for whichever hall the dance was in. Jimmy was a social creature and loved the music and the dancing. He was also a keen bowler and would happily tell the story of the night, one New Year, in Denholm where he played against 96 pair and won! The prize was the beautiful clock which sat on the mantelpiece at Cleuchside.

Work was hard and hours were long but there was a rhythm and beauty to it. Hired help moved from farm to farm and when the threshing mill arrived it was all hands on deck.Water, or the lack of it, drove Jimmy away from Lanton and took him to Cleuchside. This was a good move – it was a better farm. It was also a mixed farm, sheep, cattle and arable.

Jimmy was blessed in life with two wives, four children and three stepchildren. Neil, Colin, Dot and Joyce grew up on a busy farm with Jimmy heavily involved with the village life. He played carpet bowls in the village hall and was the m.c. at the whist drives. Jimmy, as you all know, had a larger than life character! Full on one liners and great fun was had when he was around.

When the family managed to take a holiday and headed to a cottage by the sea, they were contacted by their faithful postie, ‘Murdie’, to say that their hay was overheating and Jimmy would have to get back – there was no escape!

A hard winter and the foot and mouth outbreak really convinced Jimmy it was time to retire. In 2002, he made the hard decision to give the farm up. Now, finally, there could be proper holidays. Jimmy and Gill took off on a Baltic cruise and were smitten. Next they headed to Norway then a river cruise. He certainly loved these adventures, exploring the world, but was still passionate about his homeland. Oban and Mull were particular favourites.

In 2006 Jimmy started to need help with his breathing, but he went on gamely. The last year was particularly difficult and he was frustrated by his lack of strength and ability to do the things he wanted to do. Jimmy will be dearly missed. He loved people visiting the house and was blessed by many family and friends popping in. The door was always open and there was always a welcome.

Margaret (Peg)Paxton

14 June 2014, formerly Oxnam Row

Margaret Wilson, known as Peg or Peggy, was born on 30th May 1919 at Easter Wooden, near Morebattle, her Father, Robert was a shepherd and Mother, Annie, a housewife. She was the eldest of three children, her brother Rob, died in the 80’s and sister, Elsie, passed away in 2002. The family moved to Sunlaws and later to Oxnam Row where Peg attended Oxnam school and lived the best part of her life in the place that was so dear to her – Oxnam. She was a single parent to Bill and Marjory and was always there for them when she was needed, however, sadly both Bill and Marjory predeceased Peg.

Peg had a wealth of experience in all kinds of jobs from babysitting and housekeeping for Maude Forster, dairy maid in her teenage years to the Andersons at Millheugh, she was a forestry worker up north during WWII but also worked in the silk mill in Jedburgh. She was dinner lady at Oxnam school and it was a proud day when she was invited back after 60 years and had her photo in the Southern Reporter.

Joyce McNeill spoke of Peg as latterly the matriarch of Oxnam Row – seeing need and responding to it no matter who; a treasured friend and helper to the Forster family where she shared her great gardening knowledge. She was also a fervent supporter of the Liberal party and at election times her car was covered with Liberal posters and stickers. Perhaps one of the biggest influence on Peg’s life and one of her greatest joys was ‘the beautiful white Kirk in the valley’. She had a high regard for both Rev Grant and then Rev Bill Thompson.

Peg had a great love of nature and animals, especially her dogs, and when she moved to Cupar in the 1990’s to be near Bill and his family, Tia the spaniel went with her. Peg moved back to the Borders to Plenderleith Court in Kelso in 1999 where she looked after the library and helped with coffee mornings and the lottery. In April 2012 Peg moved to Milfield Gardens where she settled in and was very happy for the rest of her life.

Ronald William Gormer

13 December 2013, 7 Oxnam Mains, Jedburgh

Oxnam lost one of it’s characters at the end of last year with the death of Ron Gormer. Ron moved to 7 Oxnam Mains in the late 80’s after spending most of his life working abroad and soon fitted in well to life in the community and became part of the Spowart family, spending many happy times with them. He was often seen sitting on the seat at the front of his house watching the world go by, out on his bike or out walking with Liz Spowart. He was always pottering about in the shed in his garden and spent hours making things or fixing things for himself and others. He had a heart of gold and is sadly missed by those who knew him.

Miss Isabella Geddes Douglas ( Ella)

3 January 1922 – 28 July 2013

Isabella Geddes Douglas, most commonly known as Ella, but to a few Ella Doll! Her infectious laugh and personality made her unintentionally the centre of attention in any room. Born on 3rd January 1922 at Swinside Hall, she was the youngest of five.

Ella went to school firstly at Oxnam then to Jedburgh, where she left at 14, but this did not restrict her knowledge or vocabulary, she was exceptional at crosswords. She spent the majority of her life at Swinside Hall, where, with the help of her sisters, she prepared endless amounts of milky coffee and cakes for anyone who was lucky enough to walk through the door, including the local postie on a daily basis. Ella also had the most important task of being the designated driver transporting the family to various destinations.

Leaving Swinside after foot and mouth was very difficult for all involved, especially Ella, as she had never known anywhere else. However, the move to 14 Cherrybank, Springwood Park, Kelso put Ella into her element, even if she didn’t know it at the time. Having a small community in such a tight area allowed her to be more sociable than ever, being able to keep an eye on whatever was going on. With often the silhouette of the two white heids peering out the window on approach to Cherrybank. After her sister Jean-Ann passed away Ella moved into Queens Court, Jedburgh where she found great enjoyment through her ever expanding social life, often joked as more vibrant than the rest of the family put together!

Although Ella never married, she always had a keen eye for the men. This all began growing up through the war and her love of going dancing with the soldiers, be it Scottish Country Dancing or something more resembling Strictly, Ella was there on her bicycle making milking the cows and feeding the hens a difficult task the next morning. There were even stories of a nights dancing being ruined by accidents enroute that involved ripped tights and blooded knees with a swift return to Swinside.

This keen eye continued through her love of sport – golf, rugby, football – she would watch it all. She enjoyed watching all games and all teams with no real affiliation.

Ella was never short of a companion, as she enjoyed the company of a border terrier. Perhaps this was because the dog could not interrupt her flow of conversation.

Due to Ella’s personality and gift for a blether, she could always find someone to lend her a hand. Be it purchasing her precious butter puff biscuits, taking the dog for a walk whilst at Springwood or simply getting her rubbish out, she always had someone to call on. This was due to the sheer enjoyment and entertainment that Ella would supply and maybe the homemade scones and jam had something to do with it.

Although Ella never travelled too far, the friendships she made meant she was cherished well beyond her boundaries. She was not just a great aunt or a friendly face but an integral part of the history in the Oxnam area and the last of a golden age. Her limitless spirit and tales of yester year brought much pleasure to those who had the good fortune to make her acquaintance. Today also brings the end of an era to the Douglas family at Swinside Hall who gave such life and warmth to this small community and will be dearly missed by all.

Andrew Cairns

Alexander Littlejohn Mclumpmha Richardson

1 May 2013, Upper Samieston

Alexander Littlejohn Mclumpha Richardson was born on the 5th June 1919. The family home was in no. 18 Union Street, Dalbeatie. Alec’s father, James was an engine driver and mother Catherine had eight children to look after. Alec was very close to his mother. The family moved to the Parish of Colvend, when Alec’s father James, took up farming and began to farm Barrend. Childhood days were full of the pleasures of country life. Life on the farm was always busy. Alec had his chores to do like all of the children, but one of his favourite pastimes was to watch the Blacksmith shoeing the horses.

Alec attended school at Sandyhills and when his school days were done, he started his working life at Carswell’s Feed Mill. Alec couldn’t stay away from the land and before long he was working on the farm with his father at Greenhill. His father was a hard task master but Alec loved to work the land, so he kept his head down and stuck in. He loved to plough with his two colleagues, Fanny and Charlie – the horses.

Alec married Nora on the 5th June 1947 in Dalbeatie. They made their home on the farm at Greenhill.

Nora and Alec were delighted by the birth of their first child, Keith Alexander Richardson and after Keith’s birth, the new family moved to Meikle Cloak. Five years later Nora and Alec were delighted with the birth of their second son Kenneth. Five years later, Nora and Alec were delighted by the birth of their third son David and five years later, Alan Charles was born and he completed the family for Alec and Nora. In 1970 Alec bought Bra-net Rigg in the parish of Kirkgunzean, 7 miles from Meikle Cloak. This was a brave move for him, but he was always extremely careful with money. Alec kept good health and still worked every day God gave.

Ill health came suddenly to Alec in the form of a heart attack. In true Alec fashion he ignored it and carried on but become he was so ill he had to be hospitalized. Nora bought a house in the town and called it Meikle Rigg after both farms.

Keith, Kenneth and David now took on the farms on their own while their father was nursed back to health.

In 1988 Alec and Nora moved to Upper Samieston. The drier air was good for Alec and really gave him a new lease of life. He did the ploughing and still went out with his sythe. He did battle with the bracken and the hawthorn. He was ever trying to improve the land.

Winters were now spent in Spain, meeting old friends and enjoying the climate. Nora and Alec really benefited from these holidays. They had settled in to life in the Oxnam Valley and made it their home.

Alec and Nora celebrated their Diamond wedding anniversary in style at the farmhouse. They were delighted to see their family and friends all together. But Nora’s health was fading. Three years later, Nora died on 5th June 2010 it was on the day of their Wedding Anniversary. Alex never came to terms with her death. He simply did not accept that she had gone. His health began to fade. He was cared for at home by David and Isobel and his carers.

In March this year he moved to St Margarets, where his health deteriorated and where he died peacefully in his sleep on the 1st of May.

Matthew Walter Little

18 May 2013, Howden Drive, Jedburgh

A Poem Celebrating the life of Mattie Little by Timmy Douglas

We gather in God’s Holy Kirk
to praise the Lord and pray
and celebrate the life and work of one who’s passed away.
From Bowmont, Kale to Esk and Ale
from Yarrow, Jed and Teviot,
whatever yowes grazed hill and knowes,
he dearly loved the Cheviot.
His greatest gift was Heaven-sent
to suit their wide dispersal –
the finest kenner ever kent
to hird a cheviot hirsel.
For Mattie’s skills with sheep on hills,
his canniness and patience
showed knowledge deep of Cheviot sheep
of all denominations.
He took what came and drank his cup
for pranks and jokes, aye ready,
for Mattie never quite grew up
and died an auld daft laddie.
A glass of brandy by his chip,
or was that just a rumour,
and aye a gleeful, toothless grin
to whet his sense of humour.
The Border’s loss is Heaven’s gain
where stockman’s points are soaring.
We’ll never see his likes again
by auction ring or show ring.
The Lord will swing his shedder gate
to greet a fellow stockman.
St. Andrew’s eyes will recognise
a loyal Border Scotsman.
So, may St. Peter ring the bell
on reading Mattie’s record.
For Matt, you used your talents well
a truly great, good shepherd.
If friendship is the measured weight
on which our scores depend,
it’s truly been a pleasure great
to count you as a friend.
Matthew Little, shepherd extraordinaire, Cheviot man, rest in peace.

George Scott

5 November 2012, 10 Headrig, Jedburgh

Mogens Christian Christoff Vind

Died – 2 June 2012

Mogens Christian Christoff Vind was more commonly known as Chris Vind. He was born on 3rd March 1925, the youngest Son of Elsa & Ove Vind of Sanderumgaard, an estate just south of Odense in Denmark. After spending some of his youth under the tutorage of a governess, he was soon shipped off to boarding school. He spent the latter part of his schooling years during the war where he used up some of his spare time outside school as a courier in the Danish underground movement. This gained him the advantage of getting straight into officer training school when he left school at the end of the war, and he ended up in the Danish Royal Guard as a lieutenant.

After a brief service in the army he then decided to go to agricultural college and then went on to Cambridge, ostensively to learn English. It was around this time that his father offered him a one way ticket to anywhere in the world on the condition that he paid his own way back. After having considered Kenya, he settled on Southern Rhodesia, as it was known then. He took up a position of farm manager in one of the more ‘well heeled’ farming districts and there, during a New Year’s party, he met Susan on a blind date. A year and a few months later they married, had three children, Christian, Ivar & Kirsten and after a short spell in a farming partnership they bought a farm in a place called Bromley. Sanga Farm was a rather run down bush farm and over the next few years Chris, supported by Sue, built up the farm to a strong viable concern, growing tobacco, maize and breeding cattle. Chris worked tirelessly on the farm, but also contributed to the community as a whole. He was on various Bromley Farmers Association committees and his contributions were always of great value.

During the Rhodesian war Chris was part of the police reserve force. Time moved on and Rhodesia became Zimbabwe and Christian and Kirsten flew the coop to follow their own destiny. Ivar stayed on to eventually take over the farm from his father after having attended agricultural college. After a few years under his father’s tutorage Ivar took over the farm and Chris and Sue headed for Scotland where they spent the last twenty two years happily retired in the Borders at Brundeanlaws.

James Douglas Cairns, Church Elder

10 September 1951 – 12 May 2012, Netherwells, formerly Riccalton & Swinside

We are all here today to mark the untimely loss of our good friend Douglas, a true gentleman, whose company, with dry wit and good humour, brought pleasure to us all. At his Grandmother’s insistence Jane-Ann gave birth in Jedburgh Cottage Hospital as the remote island of Islay was no place for such an event. His Father, Harold, then a Bank Accountant, lived at Lower Tallant, Bowmore, Islay before being promoted to Bank Manager and moving into the Bank House. His childhood was full of freedom and mischief and his mother always said that he hardly took time to eat his dinner. His childhood ended with the sudden loss of his father, and his mother’s decision to return to her family home at Swinside to live with Douglas’ grandparents, aunts Ella and Nancy and Uncle Tom. From being a free spirit on Islay he became a couch potato and at the age of twelve weighed twelve stone.

With the help of Rev. Bill Thompson and the pre Fred the Shred RBS it was decided to enrol him at Blanerne School at Denholm where his love of sport was born. When Blanerne closed he moved to Holt School at Haddington. Life at Holt was great fun with a role of only 80 pupils. His involvement in sport continued, he captained a successful first fifteen, and when admitted to hospital with a burst appendix his sports master, in answer to the question ‘what religion is he?’ said ‘a football fanatic’.

They enjoyed many educational excursions, two of which were memorable. The first was a clandestine trip to the Red Mill Strip Club in London where Douglas took fright and fled to the safety of the pavement outside. The second was a trip to Roker Park to watch Man City win the league 4-1 against Sunderland, a performance that has not been repeated until recently.

Eventually at the age of 19, with the threat of A levels, Douglas left Holt school and returned to Swinside to work on the farm. The grind of living and working at home was alleviated by attending block release courses in agriculture at Oatridge College. His love of sport continued and he played rugby at Riverside Park for Jedforest and also played football for Liberton Rovers where games were played on Sundays. Even if too many refreshments were taken after the game he still had to be home for work on Monday morning. On one occasion this resulted in him rolling his Ford Escort at Earlston.

Aged only 22, following the death of his Uncle Tom, Douglas found himself in charge at Swinside under the guidance of Johnny Geddes and with help from Nancy and Frank Cowe, Bill Moffat, Jock Buchanan and Jimmy Douglas.

Through Oxnam Young Farmers he met Diana Logan, the love of his life, and they enjoyed a full and social courtship before they married in 1979.

Now farming for Douglas got serious and they knuckled down together to put the farm into rights, producing pure bred Cheviots and Suffolk cross lambs and a herd of pure Galloways producing Blue Grey cows. These were happy days at Swinside Townfoot. With the birth of first Jamie then Andrew the family unit was complete. The inevitable initiation of the boys to football was somewhat hampered at first by the introduction of the ‘stunted creatures’, Douglas’s derisory expression for the Shetland ponies. But no surprise, in the end Hearts and football won. They spent many Saturday afternoons together in the stands at Tynecastle.

I remember family holidays; the Cairns, Purdie and Davidson families off to Ibiza, 6 adults, 6 children; great days on the beach, happy hour at the bar, long nights and early mornings, the odd hangover and the kids wanting to play at every moment. Douglas would say from his sunbed ‘your turn Diana’.

In 1991 the family moved to South Riccalton and Douglas ‘commuted’ to farm at Swinside until 2001 when he was dealt a terrible blow with the outbreak of Foot & Mouth. He was devastated at the loss of his healthy livestock and this was to be a defining moment for him. He decided to give up the tenancy of Swinside and the family took North Riccalton, bringing together again North and South Riccalton.

After graduating, Jamie returned to work on the farm in 2005, bringing home his wife-to-be, Natalie. Douglas was delighted. He often said he could not have asked for a nicer daughter-in-law. I remember clearly how excited and pleased he was when he found out he was to be a Granpa and last year his grand-daughter, Imogen was born. Once Andrew had graduated he started his travels, jetting off to Australia where Douglas and Diana visited him. Andrew returned from Australia to help Jamie on the farm when Douglas became ill last year.

Douglas was a member of Jedburgh & District Round Table and enjoyed many happy years as a round tabler. This involved charity fund raising, rugby weekends to both Neath and South Dublin Round Tables where a 3 way link was established, and a very active social calendar involving wives and children. As you retire from Round Table at the age of 40 it was decided to form a 41 club which Douglas was the founder Chairman. Away weekends with our better halves are still a very enjoyable part of the 41club calendar and Douglas looked forward to these, being in St. Andrews back in February this year. Douglas was maybe not the life and soul of the party but he was always very much part of the party and time spent in his company meant laughter. He always had a one liner, a nickname for you, an answer, his wit was extremely funny.

Rugby, as you know, was another of Douglas’s passions and we witnessed many a good game together, both at home and away. Douglas was not the best company to sit beside at a home game as, once the game started, he would put on his headphones and would listen to Bill McLaren’s commentary or sometimes would watch the rugby and listen to the Hearts game at the same time. Not a word was spoken until half time.

Douglas, James Allen, Jim Purdie and myself in 1995 went on a ‘Davidson’s tours’ as Douglas called them to South Africa for the 1995 Rugby World Cup following Scotland up to the quarter final. This reminds me of a tale from the tour when in Pretoria. As Douglas was in charge of the kitty money he reckoned he was entitled to sit in the front seat of any taxi we hailed and on one occasion, as we were driving along, he asked the taxi driver what tribe he belonged to? The driver replied ‘Zulu’ tribe and then asked Douglas ‘what tribe are you boss?’. The reply was ‘Cairns’ tribe. The taxi driver then asked would he like to meet his family who lived in the local township and with a panic in his voice, and some words from the back seat, the offer was declined. When we arrived at the hotel and got out the taxi Douglas said to me ‘you know, that’s the first time someone has ever called me boss’!

Hearts of Midlothian, what other team could someone who considered themselves first and foremost a Scotsman support. He was a season ticket holder for many years, travelling the length and breadth of Scotland, even driving a mini bus to away games, he also bought shares in the club which he later gave away to Mr. Romanov. Douglas would watch any game of football on the TV, even if it was Crawley Town against Southend, he could not resist it. Tomorrow would have been a difficult day for Douglas, a choice between going to watch his beloved Hearts beat Hibs in the Cup Final or going to Riverside Park, sitting round the table for lunch and drinks watching the odd game and enjoying the crack. I think I know what your choice would be as it doesn’t happen that often!

Well, James Douglas Cairns, the full time whistle has blown for you…. No extra time, no penalty shoot out. If there was a ‘Match of the Day’ Epilogue it would probably go something like this:-

Man of the Match – Douglas Cairns, a legend with a few yellow and the odd red card… but very definitely always a true team player in everything he chose to embrace, a true gentleman, a true friend to all of us, a devoted nephew to Ella and son-in-law to Connie. A wonderful father to Jamie and Andrew, father-in-law to Natalie, very proud grandpa of Imogen but most of all a very devoted and loving husband to Diana.

Written by Derek Davidson

George Simpson

26 February, Windram, Oxnam

Anne Elliot Douglas

1925 – 3 February 2012, Mayfield Gardens, Kelso (formerly Pleasants & Hindhope)

Anne was born in Perthshire and brought up in the family hotel business with many interests outside the family business including joining the WRAF.

She met her husband Jeff after a Rugby international in an Edinburgh hotel where she literally bowled him over as she came through a door. They were married that year and moved to Upper Hindhope where they lived for 30 years. A huge contrast from the social and comfort of a busy hotel life to the isolation and basic amenities at Upper Hindhope at that time, but Anne coped very well and brought up 3 children, Shona, Gail and Gavin who is still farming at Upper Hindhope. She was very supportive of Jeff and had wide interests of her own including flying where she had a pilot’s licence, her garden, birds and the Royal Highland Society. During the snow of 1963 she even went in the helicopter helping deliver feed to the stock on the hills.

She and Jeff were a very sociable couple as anyone who has been to a Upper Hindhope or Pleasants party will know!

In 1976 they moved to Pleasants in Oxnam although Jeff still went to Upper Hindhope every day, until he sadly died in 2003. They were married for 57 years. With great fortitude, and helped by her 7 grand children and now 5 great grand children, all of whom were very fond of Granny Annie because of the great welcome they always got, Anne made a new and full life for herself helped by her interest in her garden, birds and many friends.

In 2004 she moved to Mayfield Gardens in Kelso but right to the end she did not change, very hospitable and pleased to see her family and friends, always smart and keen to be part of any social occasion.

A very special and gracious lady who we all miss enormously.

Written by John Westrope

Thomas John Jeffrey, Church Elder

Friday 24 April 2011

It is with deep regret that we announce the death of Thomas John Jeffrey on Friday 24th April 2011. Toe was our most senior elder who worked tirelessly for Oxnam Church.

Thomas John Jeffrey was born in Lanton on 13th October 1926. His Father, Peter, worked as a farm steward. His Mother, Margaret, called him Toe and he was a wee brother to Doddy and Jenny. Young Peter followed Toe and the family was complete with the birth of Margaret. The family moved to Riccalton and it was from there that Toe first went to school at Towford Academy as he was proud to announce. Toe loved Riccalton and spoke fondly of his time there, in fact, Toe loved wherever he was. He saw beauty and value in the country and people around him wherever he was. The family moved to Oxnam Row and Toe then went to school at Oxnam. He left school to work on the dairy farm at Spittal-on-Rule. Father Peter then decided to move to Crailinghall so that both Toe and Peter could work on the farm together. Again Toe loved Crailinghall. He ploughed the fields with his gentle giants, the farm horses. He often spoke of those days, of how well the horses knew their jobs, of how they had a routine every day and anticipated Toe’s every move. How hard they toiled all day and how they would allow him to jump on their backs at the end of a long day all exhausted but exhilarated. As they neared home the gentle beasts would break into a trot, knowing that a bucket of feed would soon be proffered to them.

It was at Crailinghall that Toe joined the Young Farmers and went to all the local dances. Toe loved to dance, he had a twinkle in his eye and a twinkle in his toes. He went bowling and was generally a part of the thriving Oxnam Water Community. When tractors came to Crailinghall, Toe was one of the first to use them. He liked them fine but was always amazed when, at the end of the day, you just put them in the shed and they stayed there! No feeding, no mucking out, but also, no gentle brown eyes and warm breath on the back of your neck.

It was whilst at Crailinghall that Toe met Ruby Paxton. They were married in Oxnam Kirk on 22nd May 1961 by Rev. Bill Thompson. Their first home together was in Hindhousefield Road in the town. Toe started work at the laundry amongst members of his family and friends.

Later Toe and Ruby moved to the flat at The Royal British Legion, Jedburgh where Toe became Steward. Whilst working in the British Legion Toe was approached by Michael Wares who had recently purchased The Carters Rest. Michael had been looking for someone to be in charge of the bar and after asking his customers if they knew of anyone suitable for the post everyone came up with the same name, Toe Jeffrey, and so began a long and happy working career and friendship with the Wares family. Toe and Ruby moved to Forthill Terrace and both worked in The Carters Rest for many years. Sadly Ruby became unwell and when her health deteriorated Toe gave up work at The Carters Rest to look after her. Toe was devasted by Ruby’s illness but he was determined to care for her and he did so to the very best of his ability, cooking and cleaning and taking Ruby out whenever he could. However, sadly Ruby lost her battle with cancer in July 1994.

On 13th October 1995, a new chapter began in Toe’s life, when he married an old friend, Annie Margaret Learmond White. Toe and Margaret had known each other since childhood and were married by Rev. Bill Thompson in Oxnam Kirk. Margaret moved to Forthill Terrace and they found solace in each other’s company together facing their grief of loved ones lost.

Together they walked all round the local countryside and holidayed in Fife at Pettycur Bay.

Toe and Margaret continued to play an active part in the life and worship of Oxnam Kirk where he was an Elder for many years. He was involved in every aspect of the running of the Kirk and always made everyone welcome on a Sunday morning and would go out of his way to ensure that any strange faces were made to feel at home. Toe was a man of great faith and church was very important to him. Although it had been several years since Toe had actually lived in the Oxnam valley his heart had always been firmly fixed there. Toe and Margaret continued to support activities in the Oxnam valley and were renowned for organising events such as the Kirk’s annual Burns Supper. Toe would make sure that he had secured the highest level of entertainment for the occasion and together he and Margaret would prepare the food for the supper.

Sadly, after a long period of ill health Margaret passed away only 6 months before Toe in October of last year.

Toe knew everyone and everyone knew Toe. He was always willing to help others and was heavily involved in various organisations in Jedburgh which included Jethart Callants Festival Committee, Jedburgh Hotricultural Society and Probus to name but a few.

Toe was in ill health for a number of years, however, he always remained bright and cheerful and was a genuine kind, caring person who was always willing to help others. His loss is deeply felt by everyone who was fortunate enough to have known him.

Michael Wares