Loss of rugby stalwart

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The Selkirk community has lost one of its most respected figures following the death on Saturday of John Anderson. He was 84.

A former director of Heather Mills, Mr Anderson was also a lifelong supporter of Selkirk Rugby Club, servings as its treasurer for almost 30 years.

As kind and warm-hearted a man as you could ever hope to meet, Mr Anderson was born in Duns where his father – also called John – was manager of the Commercial Bank.

The family moved to Selkirk when John was 10, following his father’ appointment as manager of the Commercial Bank in the town.

John spent a short time at Knowepark Primary School before moving up to Selkirk High School, where he was in the same year as Betty Laurie, his future wife. After completing his studies, he moved south of the border to train as a meteorologist in London.

His instruction was interrupted by National Service, and for the next two years he was stationed at an air base near Inverness, working as a member of the Royal Air Force’s meteorology section.

On being demobbed, he changed career and was taken on by the Edinburgh firm of A. & J. Robertson as an accountancy trainee at its Charlotte Square offices.

Mr Anderson eventually left his city employers to take up an accountancy position with Brown Brothers at its Buckholm Mill in Galashiels, later moving to Selkirk to work in the finance department of Heather Mills.

His accountancy skills and business acumen quickly saw him rise to become a key figure in the company, being appointed a director in 1975 and remaining with Heather Mills until his retiral in 1991. 
He and Betty married in 1956, and the couple’s two children – David and Dorothy – were both born in the town.

Mr Anderson had always been a keen sportsman, excelling at athletics, rugby and cricket at school, and later playing senior rugby at Philiphaugh in the latter part of the 1950s. He took over as Selkirk Rugby Club’s treasurer in 1959, a post he was to hold with distinction for the next 30 years.

Selkirk RFC’s current president, John Rutherford, paid tribute this week to Mr Anderson’s huge contribution to the club.

He said: “John will go down as one of Selkirk Rugby Club’s most respected and accomplished office-bearers and we all owe him a huge debt of gratitude.

“During my own playing days he was extremely supportive of all the players, and even after stepping down from his official duties he took a keen interest in everything that went on at Philiphaugh.

“He is going to be a huge miss.”

Mr Anderson succeeded his father as treasurer of St Mary’s Church, and other organisations he helped with book-keeping in his spare time included the local branch of Riding for the Disabled and Selkirk Horticultural Society.

Always immaculately attired and with a ready smile on his lips, in retirement John – an expert gardener – liked nothing better than tending his plants and flower beds ... always wearing a shirt and tie of course, no matter how arduous the task!

He is survived by his wife Betty, son David, daughter Dorothy, four grandchildren and by his sister Jean.

Selkirk will certainly be a much poorer place for his passing, and heartfelt condolences go to Betty and the 
family. J.D.R.S.

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