FORMER Honorary Provost Zandra Elliot has paid tribute to the people of Hawick after enjoying “three wonderful terms of office”.
Councillor Elliot, who handed over the chains of office to Councillor Ron Smith at an emotionally-charged meeting of the Provost’s Council on Wednesday night, this week took time to reflect on the many highlights of her period at the helm.
During that time, hospitality has been extended to world dignitaries, religious leaders, American choirs, Canadian orchestras, French and German schoolchildren, sporting champions, clan gatherings, and teachers and Rotarians from the African continent.
The former Pringle model has also welcomed new businesses and initiatives to the town. She said: “If our community is to prosper, it is essential that we welcome newcomers and acknowledge the works, largely voluntary, done by our many clubs, societies, and committees.”
There has been the annual Achievement Award, with winners from different backgrounds who have all contributed to the community.
However, Councillor Elliot admitted it was the work with the younger generation which has given her great satisfaction.
She said: “One great pleasure of my provostship has been my involvement with our schools. The Vision 2014 project is a particular joy, and I have marvelled at the excellence of pupils in design, creativity, spoken word, or just simple school projects.”
There are also fond memories of this time of year, which she admitted she would always cherish.
“It is a demanding and time-consuming event for every Provost, but brings its own rewards,” she said. “I am particularly fortunate to have presided over proceedings led by six Cornets of the highest calibre. It was a pleasure to get to know them, their Lasses, Rights and Lefts, Acting Fathers and Mothers, and their parents.
“Our Common-Riding is the envy of the Borders. It creates a tremendous sense of community spirit and civic pride experienced nowhere else. From my travels, I know that our Common-Riding and Cornets are held in high regard for the standards they set – standards to which others are encouraged to aspire by their own towns.”
And while the job of Honorary Provost has always been to ensure a bright future for the town, Councillor Elliot revealed that remembering the past has also helped to create poignant memories. She added: “The duty of Provost that stands above them all is leading the town’s tribute to the fallen at the annual Armistice service.
“It is a very humbling experience and we should never forget those who gave their lives so that we could enjoy our lives today.”
Not only did she wish her successor Councillor Smith well, she also hoped that Hawick would continue to prosper for a long time to come.
She said: “Hawick is particularly fortunate in having the position of honorary provost. That is due to the foresight of the gentlemen of Hawick Callants Club, in whose company it was always a pleasure to dine.
“It is a non-political position, carrying the duties of promoting the interests of the town and its people, and representing the town with dignity and honour. Long may it continue with these objectives.”