A former Hawick man has been awarded the freedom of the borough of Southend-on-Sea in Essex.
Rob Tinlin joined the town’s council in 2005 and went on to become its chief executive and town clerk, and that service was recognised at a meeting of the full council last week.
It was a poignant moment for the former Hawick High School head boy and Burnfoot Primary pupil, who left the Borders as a teenager to study at Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University and never fully returned.
Rob, 63, used to make regular visits to Hawick to see his mother May Tinlin and sister Nan Farquhar, but both died recently. His brother-in-law Andrew Farquhar still lives in the town, however.
He said: “The last freedom of the burgh I remember seeing was Chay Blyth getting his. I was head boy of at Hawick High and remember being at a really fancy ceremony in the town hall.
“They are few and far between. I am chuffed as most councils don’t hand them out very often.
“It makes you feel quite humbled, to be honest.
“I have had a wonderful 12 years and it has been an absolute privilege to serve as the borough’s ninth town clerk and to serve for almost a tenth of the life of the borough council.
“Receiving the freedom of the borough is a great end to my time in Southend-on-Sea.”
He is now looking forward to returning north of the border and retiring to North Berwick at the end of the month, and he says more visits home to Hawick will be in order in his retirement.
“I am one of those people that says a day out of Hawick is a day wasted, so I have wasted most of my days since, except visits up to see my family,” he said.
“You can take the boy out of Hawick but not the Hawick out of the boy.”
Rob is a chartered town planner and started his career as a student planner in the old Scottish Office’s development department in June 1974, before spending 17 years working in East Lothian, seven in South Northamptonshire and the last 12 in Southend-on-Sea.
Southend-on-Sea council leader John Lamb added: “Freedom of the Borough is the highest honour that Southend-on-Sea Borough Council can bestow upon an individual.
“It is with great pride that the council bestows this honour on our outgoing chief executive and town clerk.
“It is very well deserved and is testament to the eminent and outstanding public service he has rendered to the borough from 2005 to 2017.”