Tribute to Eddie Young

Born, Edward Burns Young on the 19th of Febuaury 1917, Eddie was the second son of ‘Tam’ and  Jenny Young. He had two elder brothers, John and Tommy,  and three sisters, Ina, Jean and Nettie.

As you might expect from a village family born into the early part of the 20th century, life revolved around family, friends and neighbours. All the boys were brought up in a life which involved running, fishing and the family business at Morebattle Garage.Tommy was a member of Teviotdale Harriers, but for Eddie and his older brother John, their athletics world would be spent on the professional circuit. A distance runner of some merit he won at many of the Border Games, running under the name of ‘E Burns’.

When he retired from competing, he embarked on an even more successful career of coaching local athletes. With his friend Elliot Sherriff, he formed a lifelong coaching partnership which saw them produce a  succession of winners in both distance and sprints around the Borders and also at the New Year Meetings at Powderhall. On a grass track at Linton during the summer months, and the local roads during the dark winter evenings, the Morebattle running school (known locally as Ed’s Peds) would become one of the most successful in the Borders.

From an early age Eddie was taught three things by his father – how to fish the local rivers and burns around the area; how to run; and all about cars. All the boys were brought up to fish – and to ‘poach’ – though Eddie would probably deny the latter. He would love to recount tales about his fishing – even the one when he beat his brother Tommy into second place in the local fishing competition in 1936. Eddie’s 15lb. basket weighed in at one pound more than that of his brother.

War brought a sudden change to his life around 1940. He joined the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and also became a despatch rider during WW2. He spent much of this time in North Africa and he was always proud to show everyone photos from this period in his life. In 1944 another change, N129413 Lance Corporal Eddie Young married Ellen Haig.

After the war Eddie settled to a more domestic lifestyle in Morebattle as a garage mechanic, husband and father. His first son Brian was born in 1945, then Helen and finally Ian completed their family thirteen years later. In 1954 his brother John took over the running of the garage while Eddie handled all mechanical things. He always had lots of time for his friends, neighbours and relatives – giving help and advice whether it concerned mending punctures, servicing engines or catching trout.

Eddie was never one to shirk a challenge and when at around the age of 50 years he took up golf, no-one should have been surprised that he wouldn’t make a success of this sport. He was still playing the game after his 90th birthday. What he lacked in power, he made up for in subtlety and skill. He would play regularly at the Hirsel Golf Course almost every weekend for the rest of his life. For the remainder of every weekend you would find him either at Poynder Park supporting the Kelso rugby team or organising the fundraising draw for Morebattle Games at the Templehall Hotel. Towards the end of his life, thoughtful as always, he gave away much of his golfing equipment to his local friends.

Morebattle Games however was the constant throughout all of Eddies life. He was born into a family who were the driving force of the Games from the early part of the 20th century when his father Tam was the Games Secretary. He took over from his brother John in 1977 and as Joint Secretary and Treasurer with John Mabon, helped take the Games through its Centenary Year in 1994 into the present century. Where other Games in the Borders have faltered, Morebattle Games has thrived and they are still enjoyed by many as the one of the finest on the Borders circuit. He had been unwell for much of 2011, but typical of his selflessness, he accepted the honour of presenting the League Cups to the winning athletes at Morebattle Games last year. This was his last official task at Morebattle Games before Eddie passed away in October last year.

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