STUART Marshall has been returned to the Hawick and Denholm seat with an overwhelming majority.
The independent candidate polled 1,734 votes in yesterday’s local government elections, 12 more than the rest of the six candidates put together.
He said: “Im absolutely over the moon. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the people of Hawick and Denholm, they have been absolutely fantastic and I will work very hard for them in the next five years, there can be no doubt about that.
“It’s been a fantastic campaign and I’d like to thank everybody.
“I’m very proud of Hawick and Denholm.”
Joining Mr Marshall in re-election is Conservative candidate Zandra Elliot, who admitted she was surprised by the result.
She said: “Im 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.
“I’m delighted to go back for the town of Hawick and Denholm.
“Hopefully I’ve got five years’ experience under my belt so I can maybe do a lot more this time.”
In arguably the biggest shock of the entire Hawick ward, former Greens captain Alastair Cranston (SNP) took the third seat, ousting much favoured Liberal Democrat rival Watson McAteer.
Mr Cranston said: “I’m feeling a bit traumatised but it’s now a case of getting on with things.
“I’m looking forward to working together for the good of the town.”
There was a turnout of 42.56 per cent in the ward, which was around the average for the Borders, and 34 rejected papers.
Mr McAteer said: “Im disappointed but it’s up to the people of Hawick and they’ve obviously made their choice and that’s what democracy is all about.”
Other losing candidates included Craig Bryson (Independent), Mary Douglas (Borders Party) and Michael Grieve (Labour).
Overall it was a disappointing day for the Liberal Democrats who lost four seats, while the Conservatives lost two. There were three gains for the Independents and SNP, while the Borders Party remained at two.
Among the big casualties were Jedburgh and District’s Len Wyse, who was a member of the ruling administration and portfolio holder for environment services and Selkirk’s Kenny Gunn.