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The Fourth Statistical Account of East Lothian

Ian Sands

Interviewed and summarised by Diana Hardy

Ian Sands was born at his aunt’s house, No 4, The Square, Spott. He has one brother, Stewart, who now lives in West Barns, who worked at Spott and Markle.

His mother, Katherine Tear (b1907) was born in Dunbar. After leaving school she went into service, then worked on the farm. His father, Robert Sands (b1905) worked as a horseman. Katherine and Robert were married in 1932 at the Knowes farm and came to Spott eight years later in 1940.

Ian attended Spott school (1941-48) where he was taught by Mrs Baillie and Mrs Miller. Thereafter, he attended Dunbar Grammar School, where he enjoyed playing football as much as anything! He left school aged 15.

From the age of seven, Ian played carpet bowls in the village hut (boys only). He recollects that Spott won the East Lothian League three years on the trot during his time. He used to go to the cinema often - there were two cinemas in Dunbar at that time. Ian loved to play football in the glen near Spott, where large groups of boys would often play until late in the evening. After his national service, he played football for Dirleton Hearts.

He and his friends would often go to dances in Spott hall, in Dunbar, and in the surrounding villages. These dances would be well attended by local youngsters, who would walk or cycle several miles to be there.

From the age of 15, Ian worked on Spott farm, first with horses, then with tractors. In 1954, he went to do his national service as a trooper with the 4th Royal Tank Regiment, stationed in Germany. He enjoyed the army, but was persuaded by his parents to come out and, in 1956, found himself back in Spott, working on the farm.

Ian met his wife Jean at a dance. She was brought up near Beauly, where she lived with her aunt during the war, but had returned to Edinburgh and was on holiday in Dunbar when they met. They married in 1958 and have always lived in Spott, firstly in Lowood then The Lodge and since the mid 1970s in Rose Cottage. They have two sons, Keith and Ian, who both now live in Dunbar. Ian is still a great fan of football and rugby, and used to enjoy racing pigeons. He was made redundant on the farm (unfortunately, one year short of his 50-year long service medal) by the former owner, but is now back working there again.

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