Honour for grand auld man of Hawick

FOR someone who is seen as the grand auld man of Hawick, J E D Murray wouldn't be keen on all the fuss.

On Sunday, May 28, the day after the Mosspaul ride-out, the Mosstroopers Club will unveil a plaque in memory of John Edward Dodd Murray outside the home of his birth at 57 High Street, while the Border Club are pulling out all the stops to officially open the J E D Murray studio ahead of the Common- Riding at 43 North Bridge Street.

J E D Murray was born in 1858 and went on to play a huge role in changing the shape of the Common Riding, writing some of the best loved Common Riding songs.

He was a founder member of the Callants Club and the founder of the Mosstroopers Club. He was Cornet in 1890, and Acting Father a total of four times in 1901, 1905, 1912 and 1925.

Mosstroopers President Bernie Armstrong who will conduct the official unveiling of the plaque to celebrate J E D Murray's life told the 'News': "I just think that J E D Murray is an absolute legend.

"What he has done for Hawick through songs, literature and so many other aspects is simply incredible.

"I have always been interested in his songs, but when I read the book which Zilla Oddy wrote about him I was taken aback.

"I had never quite realised how much this guy had done for Hawick. At the time I was on the Mosstroopers committee and I was aware that 2008 would be his 150th birthday.

"I then proposed that the club put up a plaque outside the home of his birth. The plaque design was created by my daughter Jane. I then identified Beltane Studios who agreed to create the plaque and at the AGM the whole plan was agreed. The plaque was actually ready quicker than we had expected so it was proposed that the plaque be unveiled during my term as president.

"Since then I have become more and more interested in the life and works of J E D Murray. He alone walked the boundaries during the first World War to keep the tradition of the Common-Riding alive and organised the quad-centenary celebrations of the Common Riding in 1914."

The event will take place at 2pm on May 28, which will include Bernie Armstrong saying a few words about the life of J E D Murray and Keith 'Chugger' Brown singing the Mosstroopers Song.

Events will then move to the Border Club which was founded in 1890, the same year as J E D became Cornet. The venue was also used as a photographic studio by J ED.

In recent weeks the Border Club President Nick Polowny has been gathering photographs and memorabilia of J E D Murray and they are ready to be displayed within the Club.

Speaking to the 'News' he said: "We haven't received a huge amount of photographs and memorabilia but what we have been given is stuff of excellent quality. Much of this will be put on display and will be a fitting tribute to the man who used the building as his photographic studio."