As Innerleithen gears up for its most important week of the year, St Ronan’s Border Games Week 2012 will carry extra significance for Aaron Somerville.
For Aaron, 25, an electrician, is set to follow in his father’s footsteps and will be installed as the town’s Standard Bearer at the annual Cleikum Ceremonies on Friday, July 20. and be entrusted with the blue banner of St. Ronan.
Aaron’s dad, Paul, will be his number one supporter as he watches his son carry out the role that he fulfilled in 1979.
The celebrations combine a week of fun and festivities with local legend and the oldest organised sports meeting in Scotland.
Events kick off tonight with the senior citizens’ social evening with entertainment by the Future Band and the Tweeddale Folk Group as well as supper and dancing.
The Ex-Standard Bearers’ dinner dance follows tomorrow before the annual football fives and the ball on Saturday, with more than 350 guests and visiting principals enjoying what has become the town’s premier social event.
The Kirkin’ takes place on Sunday in Innerleithen Church of Scotland and this is followed by a display from the town’s bands on the High Street in the afternoon.
Monday sees the car treasure hunt while Tuesday evening is for the children when their sports and treat in Victoria Park. Innerleithen’s legendary fancy dress parade is on Thursday ahead of the Cleikum Ceremonies on Friday.
As well as Aaron’s installation as Standard Bearer, the Cleikum will also see the Dux Boy of St Ronan’s School, Joe Giegerich, installed as the representative of the patron Saint Ronan and Dux Girl, Bryony Patterson will also play her part. Joe and Bryony are chosen by the school along with monks and sash girls from primary classes 2 to 7 to represent their classmates in the 111-year-old ceremonies.
Aaron’s Lass, Narelle Allan, 21, will buss the banner with his colours and Lady Busser, Naomi Symonds will buss the Patron Saint’s Cleikum Crozier and monks’ staves.
The 21st Lady of Traquair, Catherine Maxwell Stuart, will deliver the main speech during the ceremonies, which commence in the Memorial Hall before moving outside to War Memorial and then on to St Ronan’s Wells where the newly installed Standard Bearer drinks the water from the hands of Saint Ronan.
Later in the evening, the masonic ceremony takes place in the churchyard, and recalls the legend of St Ronan and the significance of Innerleithen’s Runic Cross.
On the Saturday morning the children’s flower parade heralds the start of a day when the town will celebrate the 185th anniversary of St Ronan’s Border Games, instituted in 1827 by James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd, and recognised as the oldest organised sports meeting in Scotland.
The town bands are on parade again on Saturday evening for the beating of the retreat on the High Street, before the final act on Curly Hill, when St. Ronan will set alight the bonfire banishing evil for another year.