ORGANISERS of a memorial to honour people in Tweeddale executed accused of witchcraft are hoping the project is on the “home straight”.

Proposals for the final design and location on the Tweed Green will be presented to Peebles Common Good Fund Sub-Committee on Wednesday (August 24).

Councillors backed plans for a memorial – which would be the first of its kind in the Borders – in principle at a meeting in June.

In an update ahead of next week’s meeting, Simon Ritchie, one of the driving forces behind the project, said: “We have met with Campbell Johnstone [chargehand gardener at Scottish Borders Council] onsite to identify a suitable position.

“The location we identified with him was by this solitary copper beech tree, which sits apart from the ones lining the avenue of trees. The exact location of the spot, on the ‘What3Words’ app, is ///altitude.buzzer.escalates.

“We now have our final design for the memorial, which will be a low profile, elevated granite slab engraved with the names of the victims. As previously intimated, this will be secured firmly to the ground in the same way as a modern gravestone memorial – with a concrete foundation under the grass level, and steel pins attaching the memorial to the foundation.”

Mr Ritchie added: “We have also discussed how the memorial should be framed on the site. I am very pleased that we have secured the support of the Callants to construct a modest, stone-walled flower bed around the spot.

“Such a border will make grass-cutting easier, according to Campbell Johnstone, and protect both the existing tree and the memorial itself.

“In terms of final design for that border, we felt that it would be best for the Callants to let us know what they can do. They will prioritise this once we have secured all the necessary permissions from the Common Good Fund Sub-Committee.”

According to Mr Ritchie, organisers are planning to make the official unveiling “quite an event”, if the sub-committee rubber-stamps the memorial bid.

In 1629, 27 people from Peebles and the surrounding area were executed on a single day after being accused of witchcraft. The planned memorial would list the full names of the victims, as well as a short paragraph recognising other people in Tweeddale who lost their lives.

June’s meeting heard that William Purves Funeral Directors had offered to place and maintain the memorial for free.