Walkers stride out in Nan’s memory

Walkers on their way to the unveiling of the Nan Lyle Cairn
Walkers on their way to the unveiling of the Nan Lyle Cairn

A PERMANENT memorial to the late Nan Lyle has been officially opened.

The toposcope – an indicator which shows points of interest pertaining to the town stalwart – was unveiled on the top of Whitchesters Hill recently.

Nan, who was a member of many groups in Hawick and the region, including the Scouts and Borders Exploration Group, died in January last year.

Lindsey Knox, one of many who helped organise the tribute, told the Hawick News: “A group met in November 2010 to discuss what we could do in her memory – something that would celebrate her life and be useful if possible.

“Nan always said that she didn’t want any benches in the park with her name on it and Roger Hemming came up with the idea of a toposcope.”

Selkirk builder Keith Riddell volunteered to build the cairn and his son Ruairaidh, who went on a Borders Exploration Group trip with Nan, agreed to carve some sandstone blocks for round the side.

Judith Murray came up with the cairn design and Lindsey drew out the top.

“With Nan’s Scouting background, the committee decided on a Baden-Powell quotation for round the vertical edge,” said Lindsey.

Funding was received from the various organisations which Nan was involved in and the granite top was engraved by Alan Scott at John Beattie & Sons.

The inaugural walk to unveil the cairn saw more than 140 people meet at the Moor and trek up to Whitchesters Hill.

Lindsey said: “There were speeches by Ruth Holmes, Nan’s daughter, and Ron Sutherland from the Borders Exploration Group. The cairn was unveiled by Andrew Lyle and David Holmes.

“Cups of tea were kindly provided by Murray and Maggie Watson at Ryvoan and were much appreciated on a warm day.

“The majority of walkers then made their way to St Mary’s church hall for scones and cups of tea, a good blether, and a chance to watch a powerpoint presentation of some of Nan photos.”

Voluntary donations on the day amounted to £420 and this sum plus any remaining money from the initial fund-raising will go to Nan’s two charities in Africa – a school in Kenya and a community hospital in Zambia both of which she helped build as part of her Borders Exploration Group trips.