Businessman honoured with college fellowship


AN HONORARY Fellowship has been awarded to Langholm businessman David Stevenson by Borders College.

David Stevenson, Angela Cox and Tony Jakimciw, chairman of the regional board for Borders College, at the Borders College graduation ceremony in Kelso
David Stevenson, Angela Cox and Tony Jakimciw, chairman of the regional board for Borders College, at the Borders College graduation ceremony in Kelso

David's fellowship was presented to him by Angela Cox, presiding over her first graduation as college principal during the ceremony at Springwood Park in Kelso. About 600 graduands and guests attended.

She said: “As a college, we are proud we work hard to create opportunities to develop our students as whole people and raise aspirations and enable success.

"We work in partnership with our communities and employers. I would like to thank them for their continued support. Without their generosity of time, resources and expertise we would not be able to achieve all that we do.”

David's family founded the famous Edinburgh Woollen Mill, of which David was chairman until 2000.

He was born in Haig Maternity Hospital in Hawick in 1941 but has lived his life in Langholm. In 1966 he married Alix, a former PE teacher, Olympic athlete and international hockey player.

After he was educated in the Muckle Toon, David graduated from Edinburgh University with a degree in commerce and qualified as a chartered accountant.

He worked as an accountant with Stewart & Lloyds in the Glasgow steel industry before joining the family business The Langholm Dyeing Company in 1967.

In 1970 he and Alix opened their first Edinburgh Woollen Mill shop in Edinburgh and grew the business to about 200 shops nationwide before selling the company in 1996.

In recognition of his business achievements, David was awarded a CBE in 1988 and for more than 20 years he was Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Dumfries. In 2012 he was made an Honorary Freeman of Dumfries and Galloway.

His involvement with charity work is immense and he is a past chairman of the Robertson Trust and Scottish Sports Aid. Through their own family charity, he spearheaded the group which redeveloped the Buccleuch Centre in Langholm.

In his younger days David was a local sporting hero and regularly represented Scotland and Great Britain in the pole vault.

In 1964 he and Alix represented Great Britain in the Olympic Games in Tokyo and Scotland in the Commonwealth Games in 1962, 1966 and 1970.

David broke the Scottish and British pole vault records more than 10 times and he represented Scotland and Great Britain on nearly 50 occasions.

He is very much a family man who enjoys spending time with their two daughters and four grandchildren but still finds time to pursue a mixed portfolio of business, charitable and community interests.

Only one Honorary Fellowship is awarded each year and David follows in the footsteps of people like Gregor Townsend and Chris Paterson. It is for people who have achieved something within the Borders.

David said of the award: "It is up there because any award from your 'ain folk' has to be respected.

"It was quite an occasion with all the graduates and their parents.

"The college does focus on skills so that when the students leave, they do have skills in areas like the care industry, hairdressing and business. It's very much a trades type of graduate.

"These skills are needed in areas like the Borders. There are opportunities for you here if you look for them."

Prizes and special awards were presented to recognise the outstanding achievements of students.

The exceptional achievement award was awarded to Catrina Barquist and Abigail Matheson. The best higher education student award went Sorrell Marr and Rhonda Robertson won the best further education student award.

The citizenship award went to horse care Level 2 and 3 students for their hard work, commitment and dedication in volunteering roles.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017 at 11:50AM
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