Sandy lays down the law as he calls time on career

Sandy Bannerman is  enjoying his retirement with wife Jane
Sandy Bannerman is enjoying his retirement with wife Jane

WHEN Sandy Bannerman followed into the family business he had no idea that his career would span more than half a century.

And as he begins to adapt to retired life he can look back on a job very well done.

While his classmates may have been undecided on their chosen profession, for Sandy it was simple.

He said: “My uncle had Thomas Purdom & Sons and it was understood that I would come back to Hawick and run the business at 31 High Street. I was always planning on studying law.”

Educated in the High School primary department, Sandy did indeed leave his beloved home town for the bright lights of Edinburgh, where he attended George Watson’s College and studied law at Edinburgh University.

However, the draw of the capital held little appeal to him and like his future career, his heart belonged to Hawick.

And that is where he returned to settle down on January 1, 1960.

He said: “After I graduated I came back to Hawick and I’ve been here ever since. I always intended on coming back. My nine years of education up in Edinburgh was very much nine years too long out of Hawick.

“It’s where I was born and every weekend or half term that I was able to return home I did just that.

“It’s just a great place to live and work. The people are second to none.”

Sandy had already met his wife, Jane, while at university and the couple soon became part of the fabric of everyday Hawick life.

Working in the specific fields of conveyancing, estate agency, trusts and executries, he was kept busy in the family business.

And he has watched on as the job has changed dramatically over the years.

“When I first started there was no Legal Aid system,” he said. “That’s been a great thing which has helped a lot of people.”

While work was his great passion, Sandy also enjoyed an active life away from the cut and thrust of the office.

A stand off, centre or wing, he played rugby for Edinburgh University and Hawick Trades, and also pulled on the famous green jersey on a number of occasions.

He said: “I certainly wasn’t a first choice but I played a few times for the Greens.”

And there was plenty more to keep him busy. Sandy was a trustee of the Hawick Savings Bank, which later became the South of Scotland Trustee Savings Bank. He was also a trustee of the TSB Foundation in Scotland.

Just as he had followed his uncle into the family business, so Sandy’s sons Rory and Richard followed in their father’s footsteps.

While Richard is a solicitor in Perth, Western Australia, Rory is part of the BannermanBurke business, to where they moved around ten years ago.

Sandy recalled that particular ‘flit’ with a smile as he said: “That was a big move physically because the firm had been in the building above the Royal Bank of Scotland for well over 100 years, having to decide what to take and what to dispense with. But I remember I was on a golfing holiday on the day we made the move so I was spared all the heavy lifting!

“Getting Rory to help out in the business was a great moment. At that time I was running things single-handed and it was great to get him on board.”

Sandy and Jane can also boast two more hugely successful children in Nick, who is managing director of Johnstons of Elgin in Hawick and Lisa, who runs her own business in Edinburgh.

As well as their four children, they have a further 13 grandchildren to keep them busy.

It’s a wonder Sandy, who was made an Honoray Sheriff of Lothian and Borders two years ago and is also a trustee of the Bill McLaren Foundation, had time for anything else.

But his hobbies are plenty, one of which is as a reader and editor of the hugely popular talking Hawick News.

A past captain and champion at Minto Golf Club and former president of Hawick Rotary Club, he is now looking forward to spending more time on the golf course, tending to his garden on Buccleuch Road and travelling with his wife.

He said: “So far retirement has been fine and I’m enjoying it.

“What it will be like in the winter when there’s no golf or gardening remains to be seen.”