RESTORATION was high on the agenda at the annual Peebles Guildry Supper on Friday.

And it was somewhat fitting that before proceedings began, the Dean of the Guild, Alastair Dodds, proudly unveiled the historic and recently refurbished Guildry Bible.

Member Ian Dempster had oversaw the restoration work of the treasured tome.

On an evening of history, honour and humour, highlighted among the thought-provoking Toasts was restoring reputations and the town's facilities.

Following some fine dining in the Tontine Hotel, with Grace undertaken by Rev Callum Macdougall, and terrific entertainment from Tom Fairbairn and Sarah Brown, it was left to the prestigious top table to enlighten and engage.

In his Toast to the Guildry Ian Buckingham took the opportunity to remind the gathering how the Trust he chairs is restoring John Buchan's reputation as one of the 20th century's most important writers.

Ian, who is chair of the John Buchan Museum Trust, revealed that more than 3,000 visitors had enjoyed the High Street attraction last year.

He also complimented the Guildry on the work it does to uphold the 'spirit of Peebles'.

And used the words of, not John, but his brother Walter Buchan to emphasise his point.

Ian said: "Walter Buchan, brother of John Buchan and the Town Clerk and Procurator Fiscal was Warden of Neidpath in 1933.

"His speech included these words, 'A living spirit that breathes around us and pervades this old castle here and in the little burgh down in the hollow there. That spirit is the Spirit of Peebles which has endured through past centuries and is still a living, potent influence in our midst'.

"Those words were spoken 87 years ago and it is still true today – and that spirit is all of you in this room tonight.

"The Guildry and its members is a story of hard unremitting work, of work done for the good of the Burgh, by a body of people who have, as their interest and aim, the good and well being of Peebles.

"Just look what you all do as individuals or as part of other groups, if not under the Guildry banner. Your contributions are invaluable in the structure of this town."

Adrian Swanston used his Reply not only to thank Mr Buckingham, but also to provide a history lesson and highlight achievements of other Guildry associations across the country.

In a well-researched Reply he also took the gathering through the centuries in Peebles.

But looking to the future, Adrian also used his time to appeal for reaching out to parts of Peebles who are unaware of the Guildry.

He said: "Stirling Guildry, the oldest in Scotland, last year celebrated their 900th anniversary.

"They are enjoying a resurgence of female members after a break of roughly 700 years to the extent, they have appointed their first ever female Dean of Guild.

"In this world of equality, will Peebles follow this trend and invite female applications – just a thought and not one I’m suggesting.

"Some Guildries still support the tradition of encouraging apprentices, with Lanark presenting a prize each year to the top apprentice at Motherwell college, and Ayr Guildry who sponsor a young apprentice of the year and present a citizenship award within their local schools.

"With the recent terrible fire at Peebles High School, major rebuilding will have to take place. Plans will be drawn up on how this should proceed and the Guildry, along with other organisations will have the chance to voice any concerns that we may have.

"But perhaps, also an opportunity to begin an association with our High School – presenting an award to an outstanding student or recognising a student with excellent technical ability.

"This would also make pupils aware of the organisation, its history and how craftsmen were associated with guilds."

For close to 400 years the Peebles Guildry has been upholding the values which has made the town the place it is today.

Although Lawrie Hayworth only moved to the Royal Burgh inside the last decade he has quickly become aware of the pride which penetrates at the heart of Peebles.

His work in recent years to establish the Peebles Community Trust is already helping restore services and facilities which were gradually being lost.

Mr Hayworth, who has also chaired Peebles Community Council, was full of admiration for his adopted hometown and the community spirit which prevails.

He said: "I was asked to join the Community Council and became quickly aware of how much goes on in the town and how many of you give of your time and experience to such a wide range of organisations."

In his Reply, David Kilshaw OBE thanked Mr Hayworth for his Toast to the Town & Trade of Peebles.

And he also highlighted the healthy state of retail in Peebles when compared to other Borders towns.

While the Guildry has been shining a beacon for Peebles for more than three centuries, that light would quickly diminish if it wasn't for new members.

On Friday Bob Harrison welcomed three of them - local vet Graeme Rogers, retired excise officer Malcolm Bruce and local barber and photographer Stephen Mathison.

Mr Mathison, who moved to Peebles in 2002, said: "Living and working in such a fabulous town is a bonus.

"I feel privileged to have met so many people who have been clients for years, many are in this room this evening and who I now consider as friends.

"I genuinely don’t think I could do my job elsewhere because I have such a great bunch of customers."

Russell Copeland offered the Vote of Thanks.