ATTEMPTS to source funding for repairs to an historic chain in Innerleithen have failed.

And community leaders are now pinning their hopes on a fundraising campaign to fully refurbish the town's civic medal.

Innerleithen's Provost's Chain was gifted to the town in the 1920s by South African ex-pats.

Following the local government reforms of 1975, which did away with town councils and provosts across the country, the chain has been worn at civic functions by the St Ronan's Games Week president throughout the annual celebrations.

The Provost's Chain, with its had-painted medallion, has gradually become damaged.

And estimated refurbishment costs by skilled craftsmen in Edinburgh are estimated at more than £5,500.

With no funds in the town's Common Good Fund and the repair bill not fitting in with required criteria for lottery or local authority funding, community leaders are hoping to launch a fundraising drive over the coming months.

Local councillor Shona Haslam told us: "There is a real desire from both the Common Good Fund trustees and members of the Community Council to have the chain repaired and restored to bring it back to its former glory.

"We haven't been able to locate funding for the repairs but hopefully the community can band together."

When the Cleikum Ceremony became part of the St Ronan's Games Week in 1901 the Provost was called to the chair and through time, the Provost of Innerleithen became president of the Games committee, presiding over all ceremonial occasions.

St Ronan's Border Games had come under the patronage of the Provost, magistrates and councillors of Innerleithen towards the end of the 19th Century.

Consequently after the local government reforms of 1975 the Games committee decided that the chairman should hold the dual role of president.

Walker McLaren was the chairman at the time and continued in the role until his death in 1990.

Mr McLaren and his successors had worn the medallion without the chain until 2001 when it was agreed that they should be reunited and worn at all ceremonial occasions.

The scroll part of the medal has become detached and parts of the hand-painted town crest are also in need repainting.

It is estimated that the repairs will take between 12 and 16 weeks - at a cost, when VAT is added, of £5,585.

With next year's St Ronan's Borders Games Week celebrations beginning on Saturday, July 14, it is hoped that the money can be raised and the repairs started by the spring.

Former St Ronan's Border Games chairman Keith Belleville said: "The Innerleithen Provost's Chain is used by the president of St Ronan's Border Games during all ceremonial occasions.

"The Games committee considers it very important that this chain, which was gifted to the people of Innerleithen, should be in use and that the people of Innerleithen should feel that it is their chain and part of the heritage of the Burgh."

Throughout the summer season the chain is displayed at the St Ronan's Wells Visitor Centre.

And during the winter off-season months it is securely stored within Tweeddale museum in Peebles.

It is estimated that the replacement value of the chain is £20,000.