Cranston teams up with SNP as he kicks off election campaign

FORMER Scotland international Alastair Cranston has entered the election scrum for the Hawick and Denholm ward.

And the ex-Greens captain, coach and president is hoping to score a victory with constituents.

The 62-year-old, who was chief executive of the Borders rugby team for three years, has been selected by the SNP to fight the seat in May.

He told the Hawick News this week: “Although I have lived near Lilliesleaf all of my life, I attended primary school at Minto and Denholm and went to the high school. I have many long-standing contacts in this side of the country and I’ve always had a great affinity with the town and its people.”

Mr Cranston, who is married to former Haig Maternity Hospital midwife Maxine and has two daughters, Ruth and Laura and a son Stephen, married to Joanne with daughter Evie; has been heavily involved in farming and contracting over the years.

He was one of the founder members of the Borders Machinery Ring in 1987 – the first of its kind in Britain – and was a manager before becoming a director when his rugby commitments with the Borders took over in 2002. Since 2005, Mr Cranston has been involved in the development of rural recycling and renewable energy initiatives related to linking communities and agriculture to their mutually-sustainable benefit. And he is hoping the cooperative structure he has been involved with throughout his business life can serve him well as a member of the council.

He said: “I’m looking to work together with other agencies and individuals through a proper structure that will enthuse local people to be more involved. It’s about bringing people together for the good of the town.”

However, Mr Cranston insists he has no magic wand to cure Hawick’s problems, although he admitted he was keen to capitalize on the ward’s strengths.

He said: “There will be no quick fix. I realise that councillors have to deal with a lot of bureaucracy and the council structure has to be understood before changes can be assessed, proposed and worked on. But I would like to think I could communicate with local people and if they’ve got a problem then I can take it forward.

“The town has lost a lot of industry over the years but one of the great strengths it has is its potential to attract tourists and tourism.

“And with its friendly, warm welcome, and international business and sporting connections, I feel more can be done to encourage visitors to the area.”