THERE aren’t many who will be sent a bouquet of flowers on the occasion of other people’s wedding anniversaries, but for Mona Hope as the town’s popular registrar that wasn’t unusual.
For almost three decades Mrs Hope has guided Teries through some of the happiest and saddest events in their lives. With her gentle manner and friendly approach, it’s little wonder that at times her Twirlees Terrace living room was bursting at the seams with cards, and vases of flowers, from couples whom she had officiated at their wedding.
And for the unassuming registrar, as she finally puts down her pen after 29 years, such memories are testament to a job well done.
“I always, always liked my work”, she told the Hawick News. “I never got up in the morning and dreaded going. I got to meet all sorts of people, from all over the world, and I have met some lovely people.”
It was back in 1981 that Mona, married to former local knitwear firm owner Eric, applied for a part-time registrar’s job. She explained: “I had never been in a registry office in my life before, Eric did all our paperwork. But I got the job and started training with Arthur Cronin and Rocky Richmond, although there was a lot to learn and it was a number of months before I was allowed to put pen to paper.”
From births and deaths, to name changes, weddings abroad and knowing the law and practice of registration, Mona became the face of the town’s registry office.
And from weddings at 12 High Street, to the town hall, council chambers, Drumlanrig Tower, local hotels and latterly more unusual locations, can only guess that she has conducted “several hundred” ceremonies.
Mona, born in Hawick but brought up in Stornoway, recalled: “One of the strangest places was in a barn. When I’d carried out a risk assessment there was cattle running around, but on the day of the wedding it was immaculate.” Mrs Hope, mum to Pamela and Judith, once also had to trek through Craik Forest to conduct a wedding at the waterfall.
“The job needed different types of people skills” she admitted. “There were hard times too, but of course births are lovely. And some people maybe came in having had their first baby and I had married them too, so that was nice.”
As a new lady of leisure Mona says it is “different”, but is looking forward to her and Eric taking the family on a cruise of the Caledonian Canal.