Harbour chief retires with fond memories

A 43-year career in Berwick has ended on a high for retiring harbour chief executive Alan Irving.

Friday, 28th December 2018, 11:42 am
Updated Monday, 7th January 2019, 11:40 am
Alan Irving, chief executive of Berwick Harbour Commission Picture by Jane Coltman

In recent weeks he has overseen the installation of a landing pontoon for cruise ship passengers being brought into the port on tenders.

He also played a pivotal role in securing £2million from the Government’s Coastal Community Fund which is being used to rebuild the dilapidated wooden jetty at the entrance to Tweed Dock, a key navigational aidcrucial to keeping the port open.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my 43-year working association with the port, beginning with the Customs and Excise and finishing with my role as CEO at Berwick Harbour Commission,” he said.

“I have been privileged to have worked with many excellent professionals over the years and have also encountered numerous local characters, including would-be smugglers. There are many tales I could tell and the memories will remain with me. I have forged lifelong friendships along the way.

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“It is now time to step back and take things a little bit easier, my golf game needs serious attention!

“I look forward to spending quality time with my wife Tricia and all my family, including nine grandchildren, and also seeing more of my beloved Motherwell FC.

“Berwick will remain my home and although still an interloper I feel like an honorary local!

“I wish Berwick Harbour Commission every success in the future; the new cruise passenger pontoon offers exciting potential for both harbour and town.”

He arrived in Berwick as a 17-year-old in November 1975 to start a job with Customs and Excise in the Custom House on Quays Walls.

He worked initially as a VAT inspector, then took on Customs & Excise roles including ship and cargo duties at the port where he was responsible for the coastline between St Abbs Head and Craster.

In 1989, he joined WN Lindsay (Stevedores) Ltd in Berwick and took on responsibility for all commercial shipping activities in the port, qualifying as a shipbroker and eventually attaining the position of managing director.

He joined the harbour board as a commissioner in 1991, serving as its vice-chairman and chairman. In 2011 he became chief executive of the harbour commission when it acquired the business of WN Lindsay’s Berwick operation.

While he is taking a step back, he will return on a part-time basis in the new year as project manager to oversee the completion and delivery of the jetty project.