MORE than £2,000 was given to two Borders groups during the Christmas holiday, thanks to fundraising by a local crematorium.
With permission from families, the Westerleigh Group – which operates the Borders Crematorium – raised the funds by recycling metals recovered during cremation across its 34 crematoria and cemeteries around the UK.
In December, the Borders Crematorium, near Melrose, donated almost £1,400 to the Haining Estate, in Selkirk, as part of the estate’s Merry Meander event.
“The generous donation from the Westerleigh Group enabled us to bring a little light into an otherwise very dark time,” said John Nichol, a trustee for the Haining Trust.
Mr Nichol came up with the Merry Meander in a bid to bring Christmas cheer to the town in the face of coronavirus restrictions.
He added: “It created a welcome distraction from the current coronavirus crisis and delivered a sprinkling of Christmas magic.”
The Merry Meander invited Borderers to take a stroll around the loch at the Haining which was decorated with wooden reindeer and Christmas lights.
The Borders Crematorium site manager Judith Emond said: “Support for the event came from far and wide, with many local businesses and people contributing their time and various resources to help bring the community together, under COVID-safe conditions, and to spread some smiles and laughter.”
Reflecting on the Merry Meander, Ms Emond – who dressed as Mrs Claus – said: “John thought it would be really nice to just light up the paths on the estate, to try to spread a little joy, and it just grew from there.
“There were life-sized wooden reindeer among the trees, with elves searching for them, and elves (wearing elf and safety hi-vis) rescuing presents from Santa’s sleigh, which had crash-landed in the loch.
“Of course, Santa himself made an appearance, and the Living Nativity team, who normally appear in Selkirk Market Place every Christmas Eve, provided tableaus, costumed characters, and an assortment of farm animals, around the loch.
“It was lovely to see three generations of some families come together to safely walk around the festive path.
“Just for an hour or so, people were able to forget about the pandemic, make some memories and safely enjoy some quality family time together.
“A huge amount of work was involved in making this happen, but the look of excitement on the faces of the children, and the fantastic feedback we’ve had about the event, made it all so very worthwhile.
“It’s great that the crematorium was able to make such a significant contribution to an event which brought the whole community together and brought a lot of joy to people during a particularly difficult time.”
The Borders Crematorium also made a donation of £1,000 to Youth Borders to support the organisation’s work with young Borderers.