FORMER politician and paratrooper Alasdair Hutton has just completed his latest mission - to compile and save the country's almost forgotten nursery rhymes.

The children's author, who has written and narrated the Royal Military Tattoo for the past 25 years, will launch Scottish Nursery Rhymes later this week.

Alasdair, who lives in Kelso, told the Border Telegraph: "I grew up knowing many of these old rhymes and hearing my mother read them and I thought that a new generation of Scottish children might enjoy hearing the rhythm of these old verses.

“I think that the knowledge of Scots is slipping out of the ken of many children today and I hope that this book might help to kindle an interest in many of the Scots words which are distinct from English and can often express a meaning better than English.

“Robert Burns had commented in his First Commonplace Book on how good the Scots language is for conveying the music of words and I hope that today’s children will hear that when they hear these old rhymes."

The book, which starts with lullabies and runs up to rhymes for six year olds, is illustrated throughout by the Scottish artist Bob Dewar and has been published by Luath Press.

Scottish Nursery Rhymes will be launched at The Mainstreet Trading Company in St Boswells on Friday afternoon.

Alasdair added: “I will be encouraging the children who come to write their own rhymes and draw their own pictures of the characters in the rhymes. “And I hope that parents and grandparents will feel free to come and listen.”

Friday's launch event is free but tickets, which can be acquired in-store or online, are required.