Katharine Elliot Centre celebrates turning fifty

Published: 5th October 2023

Three people shaking hands
Katharine Elliot Centre 50th birthday celebrations

The Katharine Elliot Centre (KEC) in Hawick has celebrated an incredible 50 years of service to the Teviot and Liddesdale community.

Over 60 service users, staff, family carers and other invited guests gathered at the Howdenbank setting on 5 October to commemorate the occasion. Celebrations included a tree planting ceremony and burial of a time capsule. A buffet lunch was followed by a disco, at the special request of service users.

A Rowan tree was chosen to plant in honour of Baroness Katharine Elliot of Harwood after whom the centre was named. Born in 1903, she was the daughter of Scottish industrialist and politician, Sir Charles Tenant. She married Walter Elliot of Harwood near Bonchester Bridge in 1934. Following her husband’s death in 1958, she became a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire and was the first woman to speak in the modern House of Lords. She died aged 90 in 1994 and is buried at Hobkirk parish church.

The tree planting ceremony was led by Frances Turnbull and Blair King. Frances has been attending the KEC for the past 50 years while Blair is currently one of the Centre’s youngest members.

Frances Turnbull, KEC Service User

“I’m the longest service user still coming to the KEC and I’m very happy to have planted the tree for the celebration."

Blair King, KEC Service User

“It’s been a big celebration and I think it was a good idea to plant a tree. I’m really happy at the KEC and enjoy coming three days a week.”

Anne Molloy, Family Carer

"My son, Russell started coming to the KEC 35 years ago when he was 20. At that time there were around 100 people in attendance. Things have changed quite a lot over the years but he still very much enjoys his two days a week when he likes to participate in a range of various activities. I also enjoy coming along to events that the KEC puts on. Whether it’s a coffee morning or something more special such as the Queen’s Jubilee or the coronation for King Charles III, they always make you feel very welcome and included.”

Councillor David Parker, Executive Member for Health and Wellbeing

“The Katharine Elliot Centre continues to be an integral and much-loved part of the Hawick community and it is absolutely right that this occasion has been commemorated in such a special way.

“All those who have been involved with the KEC over these past years will have their own memories of the place and the people who together make up this special and unique community. Staff and service users worked incredibly hard to make this a day that was worthy of those memories and it was wonderful to see all those who were able to present enjoying being part of it all.”

More information

  • Images are available on our Flickr page.
  • The Katharine Elliot Centre is one of five day support services provided for people with a learning disability across the Borders. It currently supports 24 service users. More information is available on the learning disability pages of our website.
  • The setting is also utilised by a number of other services including the Royal Voluntary Service and the Adult Social Care Homecare South team.