Citizens out in force as Civic Week 2015 gets under way

Kirkin' of the Kelso Laddie.
Kirkin' of the Kelso Laddie.

The weather for the start of Kelso Civic Week was a bit mixed, but never in doubt was the warmth of the welcome for this year’s Kelso Laddie.

Wherever 22-year-old Fraser Hastie went during the first half of Civic week he was greeted with cheers and waves from big turnouts of Kelso citizens as well as those from the surrounding villages.

Mayor of Kelso, John Bassett.

Mayor of Kelso, John Bassett.

The official ceremonies for Civic Week 2015 started on Sunday with the traditional laying of the wreath by the Kelso Laddie at the war memorial.

This year also saw an additional poingnant element with the unveiling of a new memorial tablet bearing the names of the 42 men from the Kelso area killed at Gallipoli exactly a century before.

This was followed by the Kirkin’ of the Kelso Laddie at Old Parish and Sprouston Church.

While the big crowd for Sunday evening’s events had enjoyed welcome sunshine, it was a different story the next evening for Monday’s ride to Heiton.

Kirkin' of the Kelso Laddie.

Kirkin' of the Kelso Laddie.

The heavens decided to open for the ride, which saw around 60 riders and horses follow the Kelso Laddie to Heiton, where a presentation was made by Heiton Parish villagers.

The Kelso Laddie also laid a wreath at the Roxburgh war memorial, before the cavalcade made its way to Springwood for equestrian events.

The weather was kinder on Tuesday night for the ride to Stichill, Hume and Ednam, when a mounted cavalcade 173 horses strong made the trip to the three villages.

Presentations were made to the Kelso Ladiie at all three destinations and at Ednam the principals invited local children to join them in the singing of the Kelso song, after which there was a fiercely contested scramble for sweets!

MUM GILLIAN AND DAD NEIL HASTIE WITH SON FRASER (NEIL WAS THE LADDIE IN 1981)

MUM GILLIAN AND DAD NEIL HASTIE WITH SON FRASER (NEIL WAS THE LADDIE IN 1981)

Last night witnessed the installation of Kelso Laddie Fraser Hastie in The Square, including the bussin’ of the standard.

There will be a full report plus photographs and video footage from the installation ceremony and the remaining Civic Week events in next week’s coverage in The Southern.

These also include Saturday’s official ride to Yetholm and the ever-popular fancy dress parade, which always attracts a big entry.

Speaking about how the first half of this year’s Civic Week had gone, Provost John Bassett told The Southern said he was delighted.

“It’s all gone really well so far, with big crowds of people out to greet the Kelso Laddie and his supporters wherever they’ve gone.

“Apart from the fact it was pouring with rain for Monday’s ride to Heiton – the only time it stopped raining was for the dancing of the reel – everything else has gone very well and now we’re all looking forward to the rest of this year’s programme for Civic Week.

“And I’m sure we’ll see just as large and enthusiastic crowds out to cheer on Fraser and everyone else at the rest of the events.”

Writing in this year’s Civic Week programme, chairman Scott Forbes praised Fraser Hastie’s selection as Kelso Laddie as “an exceptional choice” and someone whose family name is woven into the tapestry of Civic Week.

And in his own contribution to the souvenir programme, the Kelso Laddie said it was an honour and a privilege to have been given such a fantastic opportunity.

He wrote: “Once again I must extend my thanks to the Ex-Kelso Laddies for giving me this amazing opportunity. I have been told by many of them to cherish and enjoy every moment, as it is over in a flash – I certainly will!

“Finally to the people of Kelso. Thank you for all the congratulations and messages of support. Have a fantastic Civic Week, “Safe Oot, Safe In.”