A NEWCASTLETON mother and daughter were bursting with enthusiasm at the thought of meeting one of their TV wildlife heroes at the Borders Book Festival.
Wendy Patterson and Amber Foster, 10, went to listen to a talk by Michaela Strachan, one of the BBC Springwatch, Autumnwatch and Winterwatch presenters.
They were disappointed to hear that Michaela would not be doing a book signing because she didn’t have a book coming out.
Undaunted, Wendy told the staff in the bookshop that they wanted to talk to Michaela about the Newcastleton Wildlife Watch group, of which Wendy is the leader.
Wendy said: “While Amber and I looked around the bookshop before Michaela’s talk, I asked staff whether she would be doing a signing after her talk.
“I was told no because she didn’t really have a book out.
“I told the woman this was a shame because Amber and I were really hoping to meet her and tell her about our award-winning Wildlife Watch group because Michaela is aware of these groups.
“The woman said: “Wait there, I’m getting my manager. Amber and I stood waiting. The manager came and listened to our story.
“She told us: “Wait there.” We waited and she came back to say Michaela would chat to us straight after her talk.
“Michaela was everything I hoped for, just as she is on the TV; friendly, bubbly and so interested in what we were saying, simply a lovely person.
“She commented on what I was wearing (loved my fox scarf) and I just listened to her and Amber chatting.
“We told her all about Newcastleton, where it is on the map, the vast landscape and wildlife we have and, of course, all about our wildlife club.
“We had photos taken with her and she signed one of her old books for Amber.
“What an experience; not just for me but especially Amber.
“The staff at this event went beyond just being helpful. They made our first festival a very memorable one.”
Two days earlier Wendy and her friend Sharron Harkness went to the festival in Melrose for the first time.
Neither of them had been to this event before so they went early so they could enjoy the whole venue.
They were looking forward to meeting another well-known face on TV, a man who is normally behind the camera, taking fantastic footage of wildlife around the world.
Wendy said: “We were both taken by the well-organised and friendly event, amazing catering, music playing and the people.
“The atmosphere was so uplifting.
“Making sure we got seats near the front, we took our places in the queue early to await Gordon Buchanan’s talk, Animal Families and Me.”
Gordon Buchanan has a reputation for relishing dangerous and tough assignments.
He has taken part in challenging expeditions and adventures in South America, Asia, Africa, Papua New Guinea, Russia and Alaska, always with a view to raising awareness of the fragility of the world’s endangered species and habitats.
Wendy added: “It was an hour of Gordon talking and us watching clips from his iconic wildlife footage.
“To complete the experience we both met Gordon afterwards because he spent time signing wildlife prints. He was a really lovely guy.”