A HAWICK man, a family man, a popular man, a ‘weel-kent’ man. Put it in any order you want, and he ticks all the boxes as he is indeed a man for all seasons. Bobby Froud is his name, and making his mark in Hawick life is his game.
For Bobby is a colourful character in this grey auld toon of ours and known to many in a variety of ways.
Apart from his early days in Weensland’s Teviot Row, which is now long gone, Bobby has been a Westender all of his life.
Along with younger brother Terence and younger sister Pauline, he was brought up by mum and dad, Reena and Cecil, in Ramsay Road and the Loan and now stays in Trystside.
Talking of his boyhood times, Bobby said: “When I was a youngster there were no computer games or anything like that, in fact television was fairly new.
“But you didn’t need any of this as you made your own fun by playing outdoors.
“Our house in the Loan was exactly opposite the Moat Park gates, and my brother Terence and I just had to cross the road to get to the best playing place you could wish for.
“The Moat Park was just brilliant. And along with pals like Jim Renwick, Chuck Muir, Keith Edgar and Keith Thomson, we played all sorts of sports.
“Jackets were put down as goalposts for football, and for cricket a tree was used as the wickets.
“There was always loads in a team and the games lasted a long time. But they were great times.”
Bobby went to St Margaret’s Primary School as well as Hawick High. And during these school times became buddies with Alan Tearney, Tony Marshall and Brian Hegarty – friendships that still last to this very day.
When leaving school, Bobby served his time as an apprentice frame-worker at Renwick’s in Commercial Road. Until his working life was to head in a completely different direction, Bobby was to be in the hosiery industry for 41 years overall, and talking of this he said: “Unfortunately the knitwear trade is not what it used to be, but at one time it was thriving. I was in Renwick’s for 25 years and it was a great mill. But it was to close down which was a great pity.
“I then got a job on the frames at Johnstons and was there for 16 years, so I’ve spent most of my working life in the mills.”
Bobby has always been a great lover of the world of sport.
He played for the PSA and was a member of the ‘Peeskie’ side that won the Borders Semi-Junior League in the season of 1968-69 when captained by ‘Tucker’ Robson.
It was then onto the junior ranks with Hawick Linden, but after breaking his ankle, Bobby decided to hang up his boots.
He duly took up squash, and played for Hawick. He has ran in the Edinburgh marathon, and also plays golf. And what’s more, he has appeared on national television in the horse racing scene.
Explaining this, Bobby said: “I was part of a syndicate and we had a horse called Prospect Court. It was racing at York and the meeting was live in Channel 4, and there was a huge crowd of 45,000 at the course. I was the only one of the syndicate who could go that day and the horse won, so as the owner I got presented with the cup was was seen on TV.
“This was unbelievable and it ended up being a hectic day!”
A lifelong Celtic fan, Bobby has another claim to fame in emerging winner of the popular ‘Weel-Kent Face’ competition, which consisted of several fitness tasks in conjunction with the Think Fitness gym in O’Connell Street.
“It was great fun being in the ‘Weel-Kent Face’, continued Bobby. “I wasn’t fit but got a lot of help from Stuart Oliver and Greg Dalgliesh from Think Fitness, and have a lot to thank them for.
“Everyone in the ‘Weel-Kent Face’ had a great time and I was really chuffed that I somehow managed to win it.”
Bobby became involved in a business venture that was to change his life when, from out of the blue, he was given the opportunity to have a share in Thorterdykes Roadhouse. The offer coming from Billy Brunton who had been a close friend of Bobby’s since the pair had worked together in Renwick’s mill.
Billy was taking over Thorterdykes along with business partners Scott and John Elliot, who were also his brothers-in-law.
Bobby accepted and never looked back. And reflecting on this, he commented: “I’m very grateful that I got the chance to be part of Thorterdykes. Billy and his wife Avril ran the place, and I worked part-time along with my wife Shirley.
“It was a busy place and I loved working there, particularly at the Common-Riding, as I used to like watching people enjoy themselves.
“We opened an old garage that got called ‘The Shed’ as a bar during the Common-Riding as we needed more room. I used to run the bar and became known as ‘Mr Shed’.
And for some reason, I would end up doing my Freddi Mercury impersonation of ‘It’s a Kind of Magic’ every year. It had nothing to do with the Common-Riding, but apparently people liked watching me strutting about and it always got a good laugh.”
Following a ten-year spell, Thorterdykes was sold.
Bobby, however, had the taste for serving the public behind a bar and liked it.
So much so, four years ago he left Johnstons to become bar manager at Hawick Rugby Club.
Bobby loves his position with the Greens, and he stated: “It’s the best job I have ever had, as I have been able to meet and get to know a lot of nice people. And I have always had good staff as well, which makes things a lot easier.”
During his time with the Hawick club, Bobby has discovered something he did not think he could do – dance.
Taking up the story, Bobby said: “I was asked by Viv and Helen McCrerie to take part in a charity event for bowel cancer that was taking place at Mansfield. It was called ‘Strictly Come Dancing Denholm Style’. But the thing was I couldn’t put one foot in front of another.
“I decided to give it a shot, though, and got lessons from Molly Marshall and her daughter Sara [Lothian] at Denholm. Both of them were amazing as they somehow taught me to dance which was really amazing.
“And I am glad they did, for doing the ‘Strictly’ show in a packed cluborooms was a great experience and one of the best things I have ever done.”
The main theme in Bobby’s active life, however, is his family.
He met his wife Shirley, a Langholm girl, at a Common-Riding dance in the Buccleuch Hall in Langholm. Romance blossomed, they got married in Langholm and had two children, Tracey and Gary.
Tracey, who is now Tracey Murray, has two sons, Callum and Hamish, while Gary also has two boys, Seamus and Finn.
Bobby is very proud of his family and said: “Family is what it is all about. Recently, young Callum has not been well as he has had leukaemia. It’s been a trying time for everyone, but he has got through it, is getting better, and that’s all that matters.
“Callum being on the mend has been a great relief and things like this draw a family even closer.”
And talking of families, Bobby is certainly one of Hawick’s sons.