FORMER convenor of Scottish Borders Council, Graham Garvie has been appointed as the new chairman of the Eastgate Theatre board.

The retired councillor, who was awarded an OBE for services to the community and local governance, will replace outgoing chair Sir David Younger.

Sir David stood down after three years as chairman during the theatre's recent AGM.

In his retirement speech, Sir David referred to the excellent work of the Eastgate's general manager Caroline Adam and her staff in making the theatre such a success over the past 12 months and a hub of arts activity.

Sir David went on to praise the crucial contribution of over 80 volunteers who, quietly and efficiently, contributed more than 5000 hours to the Eastgate during the past year.

Finally, the outgoing chairman said how pleased he was with the appointment of Graham Garvie as the new Chair.

Mr Garvie takes over the reins in the middle of plans for a major expansion and refurbishment of the venue.

He said: "Like all arts organisations, the Eastgate continues to face stiff financial challenges but we will continue to apply the annual grant from Live Borders and revenue grants from other funders very carefully to support its operation.

"The Eastgate is a vitally important arts and community asset which constantly strives to meet the 21st century demands of the growing population of Peeblesshire and surrounding areas.

"This was recognised in a very practical way over last summer with the wonderful response of the public to the urgent fund-raising appeal."

Three other new Board Directors were announced during the AGM - Suzanne Dawson, Chloe Ewing and Ron Inglis.

They replace three long-standing members Catherine Maxwell Stuart, Kate Innes and Patrick Fagan.

In addition to the recruitment of several excellent board members, Mr Garvie alluded to the excellent work of the Friends of the Eastgate, led by their new Chair Catriona Lyon, and how the board looked forward to working in partnership with them.

Finally, Mr Garvie paid tribute Sir David Younger for his huge contribution and that of his late wife Anne both of whom, working with "Under One Roof" have been such driving force since the late 1990s in establishing the Eastgate as such an attractive venue and taking it to where it is today.