THE Borders’ first support group for those who have lost partners has marked its first birthday.

Just over a year ago, in the months following her husband’s death, Alison Finnie founded the Scottish Borders Widowed Community (SBWC).

Alison’s husband, Stuart, was 30 years old when he died in a two-vehicle crash on the Melrose bypass in February 2022.

That August, while looking for support herself and finding no dedicated group for widows and widowers in the Borders, Alison took it upon herself to create a space for those grieving the loss of a loved one.

“As a group we celebrated our first birthday on August 18, and we had a ‘family fun day’ to celebrate,” said Alison.

Based on Facebook, SBWC is a supportive, trustworthy and understanding space for widows and widowers.

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Alison added: “We provide peer-to-peer support to allow people to feel their feelings, and hopefully help each other heal after the loss of a partner.

“The level of support so far has been outstanding, there are true, genuine friendships forming within the group.

“We’re turning into a little family and that is just so special.

“We now have an email address to allow widowed people who aren’t on Facebook to contact us to find out what events we have upcoming.

“This is a really special little community that is growing in the Scottish Borders, and has been so clearly needed.

“I can’t believe it didn’t exist until a year ago.”

The group meets in person three times a month – one support group, Widows Hope, on the last Monday of each month, and two social events, including walks, coffee and dinner meet-ups, craft nights and pizza parties.

“Our next social event is even a night out at the pub,” said Alison.

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On Friday, August 18, to mark the group’s first birthday, 60 people joined Alison to plant a ‘tree of hope’ and surround it with decorated stones in memory of lost loved ones or inspired by the group, which were created at a rock painting event Alison held recently.

She added: “It’s really quite beautiful.”

On the anniversary of the Borders group, Alison took another big step to expand the online support available to widows/widowers by launching the Edinburgh Widowed Community group.

She said: “Our group has been so popular, and is attracting some people from Edinburgh, Livingston and even Falkirk.

“I decided it was time to set up a branch that is based more in that neck of the woods.

“It’s imperative that this type of group exists.

“The support it has provided in the first year, has improved countless lives after the loss of their partner.

“It’s that little glimmer it gives you of hope for a future that makes it so special.”

The Scottish Borders Widowed Community group can be found on Facebook, or the group can be contacted at its new email address: