THIS year’s Jethart Callant comes with a long pedigree in the figurehead role.
For Ryan Miller is the fourth Miller to take on the title as he follows in the footsteps of his grandfather George (1954), great uncle Jim (1963) and father Donald (1979).
Ryan said: “I’m delighted and extremely proud, and looking forward to the summer ahead. And I’m delighted that I’ve been given the opportunity to be the fourth Miller and the first in the third generation of my family to be the Jethart Callant.
“I can’t wait to get started.”
The 23-year-old, of Cypress Grove, is a maintenance engineer with precision tools company L. S. Starrett in the town.
A pupil of Howdenburn primary and Jedburgh grammar schools, Ryan gained an apprenticeship with Starrett, including studying at the Jewel and Esk Valley College in Edinburgh, to become an electrical and mechanical engineer.
A horse rider as a child, Ryan stopped in favour of rugby when he was about 10. But he has resumed the activity, taking lessons since January and said: “They’ve been going well and I’m quite confident.”
“I was involved in the festivals in every other way (than horseriding) – I followed all the rideouts on my bike and would go in the car with family and friends,” he said.
The scrum-half and stand-off plays for Jed-Forest seconds, and has had a couple of games with the firsts after coming up through the ranks from Jed Thistle. Ryan also enjoys golf and bowling.
His father is sales manager at Starrett, while his mother, Joyce, is a super additional needs assistant at Wilton Primary School in Hawick and his sister, Kirsty, 25, is a child-care assistant at Cherrytrees in Melrose.
“They’re delighted for me. My sister is a keen follower and does most of the rideouts, and she’s really happy she’s going to be following me,” said Ryan.
He is also hoping jockey cousins Gary and Callum Whillans will join a cavalcade during the festival.
Ryan said: “I’m looking forward most to leading my town through the summer festival.
“It’s always been an ambition of mine to be the Jethart Callant. Growing up knowing my dad and grandad have been it before, I always wanted to follow in their footsteps and thankfully I have been given the opportunity to do just that.”
Proud grandfather George said: “I’m absolutely delighted. He’s a very nice young laddie and I’m very, very proud of him indeed. It’s magic.”
Ryan will be assisted in his duties by Left-Hand Man Murray Yourston, Right-Hand Man Grant Davidson and Herald Gary Armstrong.