DEDICATION and devotion are alive and well in the Borders countryside.

On Friday 18 rural employees from across the region were honoured at the Border Union Agricultural Society lunch.

The annual event at Kelso's Springwood Hall pays tribute to the managers, stewards, stockmen, tractormen and shepherds who have provided dedicated service.

At last week's ceremony the 18 recipients of medals and certificates had a combined service of 677 years for their respective employers.

Alec Herkes, who works at Marlefield near Kelso, has clocked up a remarkable 50 years.

Ian Bandeen, from Southfield near Hawick, John Gallon from Howtel near Mindrum, Alistair McAulay from Spittal on Rule near Denholm, Andrew Shortreed from Hassendean near Denholm, and Richard Taylor from Milne Garden East Mains near Coldstream, had all completed 41 years service.

His Grace The Duke of Roxburghe, who is the President of the Border Union Agricultural Society, presented the medals and certificates.

Completing 40 years of service were Trevor Brannan from Mouldyhills in Canonbie, Gavin Byers from Caverton Hillhead near Kelso, William Grieve from Easter Softlaw near Kelso, and Keith Learmonth from Kelloe Mains near Duns.

Records show that the Border Union Agricultural Society has been presenting long-service awards since 1944.

And since 1985 it has hosted a special luncheon for the occasion.

On Friday, David Jerden from Howick Estate near Alnwick was honoured for his 39 years service.

Leslie Anderson was also presented with a certificate for his 35 years at West Morriston near Earlston.

Other recipients were Trevor Nelson for 33 years at Callay Estates near Whittingham, Gavin McLean for 32 years at Old Campus Quarry near Cockburnspath, Paul Cossar for 31 years at Chesters near Ancrum, and Alan Ramage for 31 years at Bowhill near Selkirk.

Mark Scott and Derek Taylor were also honoured for their 30 years service at Bowhill near Selkirk and Lauderhill near lauder, respectively.

Border Union Agricultural Society chairman Neil Thomson proposed the toast to The Queen during Friday's proceedings, while Nina Clancy from Eildon Mains near Melrose toasted The Medallists.

Peter Douglas of Ruletownhead near Hawick delivered the toast The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland, with Jim Warnock MBE offering The Reply.

Friday's lunch was concluded by Ian Fleming of Sucklawridge near Kelso proposing the Vote of Thanks.