THE Borders-born editor of an award-winning news and lifestyle magazine believes there is space in the market for a similar publication to flourish in the region.

John Ross Scott, a former Lib Dem leader of Scottish Borders Council and a long-time campaigner for the return of the railway, was commenting at the weekend after travelling down from Orkney to attend the 12th annual Scottish Magazine of the Year Awards in Glasgow.

At the ceremony hosted by comedian Fred MacAulay, Living Orkney, the monthly magazine which Mr Scott has edited for the past five years, took top spot in the Small Publishing Company category.

“It’s a case of fourth time lucky,” said Mr Scott after collecting the prize from the Professional Publishers Association (PPA).

“We were shortlisted and commended in 2010, 2011 and last year, so it’s great to finally win the big award.” The Border Telegraph caught up with Mr Scott on Sunday when he visited family and friends in his native Hawick and in Innerleithen.

Stopping off in Galashiels to see progress with the railway works, he told us: “There’s so much happening in the Borders with its larger and much more diverse population and the railway is set to bring yet more people and enhance an already broad cultural base.

“The success of the Border Telegraph, one of the few Scottish papers to actually increase its circulation, has shown there is an appetite for local news and I believe there is scope for a publisher to build on that excellent work with a magazine which fully reflects the lives and interests of Borderers, old and new.” Mr Scott’s magazine, which retails at £3 and is also published online, has seen its advertising revenue – and its circulation – increase by 12.5% over the past year, an achievement acknowledged by the PPA judges.

They also commended regular features in the publication, including a creative writing column, Back Chat (which invites readers on social media to respond to current issues), photographic competitions, and View Fae the Owld Men’s Hut – a critical take on topical events by the retired gentlemen who gather for a natter at Kirkwall harbour.

Meanwhile, Mr Scott said he was “staggered and delighted” to see for himself the progress with the Borders Railway.

A founder member of the Campaign for Borders Rail, he was a strong advocate of the project during his time as chairman of South East Scotland Transport Partnership and as Scottish Lib Dem transport spokesman from 1998-1999.

“Two years ago, I walked the length of the line from Kinnaird Park to Tweedbank and it was knee high in weeds. To visit Galashiels and see the transformation is quite breathtaking.” Mr Scott was leader of SBC for sixteen months from January 2002. After losing his Hawick seat in the following year’s election he moved to Orkney with wife Vanda to edit a local newspaper.

For the past seven years he has also been the two-day-a-week chairman of NHS Orkney.