NEWCASTLETON’S special constable Keith Brough will hang up his uniform for the last time this weekend following almost 22 years of voluntary police service.
His retiral marks the end of an era in the village as no-one has been found to fill his boots or round-the-clock care for the community, which has been described as “above and beyond the call of duty.”
And despite being in such a remote area it is a career which has certainly had its highlights, from single-handedly tackling car thieves and assisting in the capture of a criminal gang, to proving invaluable during the floods and the outbreak of foot-and-mouth. Often relied upon to work independently of other officers, warm tribute has been paid to Keith’s dedication which has been unflinching since 1989.
A police spokesman said: “No words can describe how highly regarded Keith is held by his colleagues. His dedication to his community and the Force is above and beyond the call of duty and he is an example to all members of the service. His attendance record over the last 21 + years has been outstanding.
“However, it is his willingness to attend routine calls from the public at any time of the day or night, which sets him apart.”
In 2000 Keith was awarded Citizen of the Year Award by the Cumberland Newspaper Group, in 2001 received a long service medal and later an additional ‘bar’, as well as a Lothian and Borders Police Force Excellence Award for Community Policing, but his commitment received the highest plaudit of all in 2008 when he was awarded an MBE in the Queens Birthday Honours.
The police spokesman commented: “His achievements paint a picture of a truly exceptional individual whose self-sacrifice and sense of community spirit has been acknowledged by all.”
But the father-of-four says the last two decades have been a labour of love, and it is with mixed emotions that he has decided to call time on his voluntary service.
He told the Hawick News: “Time and tide waits for no man and it is just the right time to go. My circumstances have changed and I’m re-married and have a step-son and step-daughter now too, so family life keeps me busy.
“But I will miss it tremendously, going into the station in the village every day and just walking around meeting people. I’ve had some good laughs and some sad times, and it’s certainly had its moments.”
And Keith, whose paid job is as a process manager in Carlisle, added: “Newcastleton is a very tight-knit close community and they’ve helped me enormously, without their support I couldn’t have done my job. The time is right to go as I feel I’ve done my bit.”
The police spokesman added: “Keith is known throughout the village and surrounding area and he will be a huge loss not only to the community, but also G Division and the Force.”