STUART Marshall secured a landslide victory in last week’s election to comfortably hold his seat in the Hawick and Denholm ward.
The 48-year-old gained an incredible 1,734 votes, which is believed to be a Borders record for a single candidate since the Single Transferable Vote was first introduced.
His winning total of first preference votes was higher than the other six candidates put together plus 411 as the people of Hawick and Denholm emphatically made their choice,
Appearing shell-shocked at the margin of his victory, Independent Councillor Marshall (pictured) said: “Last Friday was certainly a day in my life which I will never forget.
“I was just staggered beyond belief at the margin in which I was returned.
“I can’t thank everyone enough for their support. The letters, emails and texts of congratulations have been vast.”
The turnout for the ward was 42.56 per cent, while there were 3,057 valid papers and 34 were rejected.
Also returned for another session was former honorary provost Zandra Elliot, although she admitted during the nerve-shredding count at Tweedbank she wasn’t confident.
Councillor Elliot, who polled 427 first preference votes but was elected through the topping-up system, said “I’m absolutely delighted because I wasn’t confident and I was shaking before I saw the results. I couldn’t get over it because I thought I’d been overtaken by the SNP.
“Hopefully I’ve got five years’ experience under my belt so I can maybe do a lot more this time.”
One of nine SNP councillors elected was Lilliesleaf-based former Hawick RFC captain Alastair Cranston who helped boost the Nationalists’ presence at Newtown St Boswells by 50 per cent. Councillor Cranston received 381 first preference votes, but again benefited from the transferable vote system. He said: “I’m looking forward to working together for the good of the town.”
Other candidates polled: Craig Bryson (30 first preference votes), Mary Douglas (75), Michael Grieve (147) and Watson McAteer (263).