A MAN at the heart of a project stopping household goods heading to landfill has been named Tweeddale Citizen of the Year for 2022.

Murray Whyte, of Rosetta Road, received the prestigious prize on Tuesday evening at the Burgh Hall – the first event there since its £150,000 revamp.

The 72-year-old veteran is a much-loved figure in the community and has played a vital part in the success of the town’s Reuse Hub.

Launched in 2020 in response to the national clear-out during lockdown, the scheme’s goal is to stop items reaching landfill and to promote borrowing-not-buying.

Receiving the award Mr Whyte, who moved to Peebles with his family in 2006, said: “It came as a total surprise to get this award, I had to sit down.

“I feel it is mainly for my work at the Reuse Hub.

“I want to thank all the volunteers who work with me and I want to dedicate this to them.”

Scottish Borders Council convener Watson McAteer made the announcement in front of the Lord-Lieutenant of Tweeddale, Professor Sir Hew Strachan, and a select audience of family, friends and Mr Whyte’s fellow volunteers.

Mr McAteer said: “This is a very special ceremony where we have the opportunity to properly recognise a Peebles man who has done so much for his community.

“At a time of life when it would be easy to slow down, Murray Whyte pushes ahead encouraging and supporting new volunteers, as he commits an incredible minimum of 40 hours week input to his community.”

Mr McAteer also highlighted a unique act of service performed by Mr Whyte each November.

The council convener said: “With the military coursing through his veins, as a Black Watch veteran, Mr Whyte is passionate about Remembrance Sunday.

“It is quite incredible that he makes sure every appropriate grave in Peebles is highlighted with a poppy for that special day.

“If you need any evidence of ‘service’ then that simple but highly poignant act marks Murray Whyte as someone very special in our Borders community.

“What marked Mr Whyte out for special recognition and the principal reason we are all gathered here tonight is his leadership in the Reuse Hub.

“The project started in 2020 in response to the clearing of homes during the COVID pandemic, with tonnes of perfectly good household items being sent to landfill.

“The Reuse Hub reversed that trend and realised more than £60,000, targeted at refurbishing the School Brae, the former servicemen’s club.

“Murray, initially a customer, soon recognised the potential reuse benefits and immediately offered his support, and working with other volunteers, he has become the lynch pin and mainstay of the project.

“The past two years have been very challenging and the Reuse Hub has provided a source of social, mental and economic well-being in the community. It has inspired volunteers of all ages and interests, including those participating in the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme.

“At the heart of this successful venture is a man generous with his time, extensive knowledge and his ability and willingness to listen.”