New book shines spotlight on renowned writer

David Hill shows off the first ever compilation of his dad's work alongside Robert Charters, president of the Callants Club, which has helped produce the book
David Hill shows off the first ever compilation of his dad's work alongside Robert Charters, president of the Callants Club, which has helped produce the book
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THE complete works of the man who coined the famous phrase ‘a day out of Hawick is a day wasted’ have been compiled in a new book, writes Gavin Gibbon.

David Hill penned the poems The Vertish, Robbie Dye and The Spetchman among a whole host of other songs and short stories.

And on the 100th anniversary of his birth, ‘Ain Gait’ – a collection of selected verses and writings of his – has been published by the Callants Club, with the help of his son David.

“I didn’t know how much work was involved in putting the book together,” said David. “If it hadn’t been for my mother preserving it all and typing it – because she was the only one who knew how to read his writing – then it would never have come to fruition.”

Born in the Loan, David snr was a true Westender who was educated at Drumlanrig primary and the high school, where he won the gold medal for English.

He started work as an advertising copywriter at one of the Hawick mills, before volunteering for the RAF in World War Two. After he came out he went to work in the family business, John Hill & Co.

David said: “His earliest pieces came in the 1930s and he had a large output of poetry and prose in the 40s and 50s.”

In 1944 his short story ‘Thirty-six hours’ was translated into several foreign languages and during the 50s he wrote many plays and short stories that were broadcast by the BBC.

“A lot of his poems and verses were observations that appeared in the Hawick Express,” said his son.

David snr was one of the founder members of the Archaeological Society, a keen member of the Angling Club and an ardent supporter of the Greens.

Callants Club president Robert Charters explained their involvement. He said: “The club was formed in 1904 with one of the main objectives being to foster local art and literature.

“We’ve been looking forward to getting to the stage when we could put all the works of David Hill into print. This is a superb thing for Hawick.”

The book will be officially launched in the Border Club on Wednesday, and will be available to buy, priced £9.99, from various outlets throughout the town. Members of the public are invited to attend with proceedings commencing at 7.30pm.