Madge Elliot MBE
Saturday, January 18th, 2014
Born as Matilda Callaghan Robson on the 20th of June 1928, Madge Elliot is well known in Hawick for many reasons. Madge attended Hawick High School from 1940 to 1942 and left at the age of 14. During school, she didn’t really have a preferred teacher but enjoyed Art and Arithmetic. Madge also played hockey at school.
Probably the main reason Madge is famous would be her fight to save the Waverley Railway Line. It was to be closed but Madge believed it shouldn’t and so she started a petition, gathering names of ordinary people from the Scottish Borders. On the 17th of December 1968, Madge, the Duke of Buccleuch and piper Harry Brown marched up to 10 Downing Street, petition in hand, to discuss the fate of the railway with the Prime Minister. Madge says she can remember the black and white chessboard design on the floor as you first enter. Inside waiting was a police officer ready to take her name and business. Unfortunately the Waverley line closed in 1969.
Madge has always been very much involved in helping the community. For 28 years, she coached the local Tennis Club. It ran on Saturday mornings and Sunday afternoons in the High School Games Hall or at the unique sand-courts at Wilton Lodge Park. For her outstanding contribution to tennis in Hawick, Madge received an M.B.E. She has also received the Paul Harris award from the Rotary Club.
Many Hawick residents will be familiar with Madge’s path, which goes from the West End to the road at WiltonLodgePark. One day while walking near to where the path is now, she could hear some children taking a shortcut to the park, then suddenly an awful screech of a car stopping. No one was hurt, but in using the shortcut the children had almost been hit by a car. Realising something had to be done, Madge wrote a letter to the Council asking for a path to be built. It was 7 years before the path was built, but it has made a big difference to the West End residents.
A lot of how Hawick is now has been due to the outstanding input of Madge Elliot and what she has contributed to the town will remain for years to come.