Hawick Callants Club: founded 1904

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Here Callants once at Flodden's fight
Renowned for deeds of matchless might
When Scotland's valour sank in night
Shone Hawick's on the Border.
And long as Hornshole Brig shall stand
That trusty valour through the land
Shall tell the story proud and grand
Of Hawick on the Border.

J L Hercus

Annual Dinner held on 3rd March 2017

Top Table Guests – top row (from left) Rev Charles Finnie; Iain Scott; Ian Lowes; Ex Acting Father Gordon Jackson; Hon Treasurer R. Scott Elliot, Ian W Landles, bottom row Vice-President Kenny McCartney, Ex-Cornet Caswell Imrie, Chief Guest Davy Scott, President Davy Chapman, Provost Stuart Marshall, Cornet Euan Reilly, Hon Secretary J. Brian Tait

All photos from Dinner can be seen here and purchased online and at the shop

Setbacks make townsfolk stronger

Last Friday night’s toast to Oor Ain Auld Toon was in the capable hands of ex-Acting Father Gordon Jackson, who told the company that the first documentation of a settlement named Hagawick by the hedge was recorded in the 12th century.

He doubted that the landscape had changed dramatically in that time with the town expanding in four directions, the only exceptions being the new road south and the introduction of the railway in 1849.

The speaker went on to focus on the impact Hawick had made in the sporting world through legendary figures such as round-the-world yachtsman Sir Chay Blyth, Tour de France cyclist Ken Laidlaw, motorcyle ace Steve Hislop and rugby internationalist Stuart Hogg. He also made particular mention of the town’s ever-growing number of professional jockeys and trainers.

Entertainment had also been one of the town’s “strong points” with pipe bands, the Saxhorn Band, the Drums and Fifes, opera and panto groups all making their mark.

Concluding, Gordon paid tribute to the Teri psyche: “What makes Hawick the place it is is quite simple, it’s the folk that bide here. They are resilient and over the centuries we’ve been knocked back, only to recover and rise even stronger, and I’m sure this attitude comes from the events at Hornshole 503 years ago.

“Every Teri in this hall tonight should be eternally grateful ti the men and women who have made Hawick what it is today.”

Giving the toast to Border Art and Literature, Iain H. Scott, a former president of the Archaeological Society, had put together a well-researched piece on James Hogg, author of Teribus, who he said was “much underrated and maistly forgotten”.

Addressing diners in the Hawick dialect, Ian went on: “This man, this Teri giant, gauns unnoticed every year coz naebody kens when exactly hei wuz born, and there’s even mair confusion aboot the year hei deid, despite him being survived be his five bairns and wife.”

Looking back on Hogg’s life, which began with a “megre upbringin’”, the speaker continued: “Leaving education it only nine or ten to herd near the Whisphill, it’s here that Hogg got his inspiration.

“Hei became self-taught and an avid reader, studying theology, metaphysics and the sciences, bit maistly his creative mind was fired be Border poetry, legend song and ballad.”

Teribus was an “amazing piece of work”, said Ian. “Even Sir Walter Scott was said to be impressed, and unlike Scott, Hogg wad niver make a penny frae his work.” He concluded by saying he hoped he had given the company a “wee insight intae the genius o’ Hogg. Him, like mony others, heve hed it the hert o’ their inspiration, the land, the land oo love, the Borderland”.

Provost raises a glass to distillery "scoop"

Although admitting there were no easy answers to issues affecting the High Street such as online shopping, business rates, parking and crumbling buildings – Provost Stuart Marshall delivered a predominantly upbeat ‘State of the Nation’ speech at last Friday night’s dinner.

The provost threw the spotlight on various developments which he said would boost footfall locally, and said that one local firm was set to plough millions of euros into its Hawick factory over the next year.

He told the company: “Last week I toured the distillery in Commercial Road with project manager John Fordyce, so that I could see the progress that is being made. What a scoop for Hawick this distillery will be once complete, with a projected visitor base of around 25,000 people per year.

“Two other very interesting points from my meeting with Mr Fordyce were the fact that work has already started on engaging with the high school to recruit 25 new employees, and that 60 per cent of the total construction budget is being spent here in the Borders, with many of our townsfolk employed in this project.”

The provost continued by highlighting the “huge private investment” in the town by supermarket giants Lidl and Aldi, although he was conscious that people were worried about these major retailers “squeezing out” other businesses.

He said: “I am often asked if these new retail outlets will add to the challenges along the High Street, and my answer to that, gentlemen, is simple.

“How can we ever expect to be able to attract more visitors to our town if we don’t create the choice for them to come here in the first place?”

Other “very good examples of creating choice” which Mr Marshall said would “increase footfall on the High Street and elsewhere in the town” were the new hotel at Balcary, the new 3G pitch, the multi-million pound regeneration of Wilton Lodge Park, the Mansfield House Hotel which had recently been awarded four-star status, and the new French restaurant [Le 2016].

The provost went on to say he was delighted that Emtelle, a world leader in fibre optic cabling, was to sink the best part of ten million euros into its Haughhead base over the next 12 months, and also praised local knitwear firm, Scott & Charters, who were also “at the front of investing heavily in our town” with plans for a new factory on their existing site in Fairhurst Drive, Burnfoot.

Concluding what had been a first-class speech, Mr Marshall said his second term as honorary provost would come to an end on May 10 and with local government elections the week before that, it would be foolish for him to predict what the future held.

He added: “I would, however, like to express my sincere gratitude for the outstanding support you have shown to me, but more importantly, to oor ain auld toon.”

Scott issues Callants Club rallying call

With his sparkling speech at last year’s Colour-Bussing still firmly etched in the memory of many townsfolk, Davey Scott raised the bar even higher with a superb address at last Friday night’s Callants’ Club dinner.

The main speaker for the evening was simply outstanding, wearing his heart on his sleeve from the first word to the last, with his love for the grey auld toon laid bare. And such was the depth of his sentiments and quality of his delivery, it came as no surprise that the Duns stalwart received a standing ovation from the 120-strong company, who had gathered at the Mansfield Park clubrooms to celebrate another year of this most illustrious of clubs.

Speaking in the Hawick tongue with passion and no little pride, Davey lamented that “the street isnae whiles as busy an’ bustlin’ as it should be” but he hoped “aw the promises of the cooncil and onythin’ that’s promised to bi comin’ Hawick’s way materialises.

“Vacant shops wi’ big windae posters is nae answer ti the problem facin’ the toon,” he said.

Aiming a thinly-veiled barb at Scottish Borders Council over its refusal to adopt local development group Future Hawick’s scheme to reduce business rates, he went on: “Aw whilst sensed that the powers-that-be wurna listenin to big Derick [Tait] an’ his team, an’ that Hawick was gaun ti bi made to feed off the scraps fi’ the Holyrood an’ Boswells tables.”

(with the kind permission of Jason Marshall, Hawick News)

Signing the Book of Attendance, Annual Dinner 3rd March 2017 – Chief Guest Davy Scott flanked by President Davy Chapman, Vice President Kenny McCartney and Provost Stuart Marshall