A PACKED Melrose Corn Exchange on Friday night witnessed the appointment of 2012 Melrosian Graeme Crawford and Festival Queen Katy Wilkinson.
A sports science student at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Graeme, son of Ian and Catherine Crawford, was announced as the 74th Melrosian at the Ex-Melrosians’ Burns Supper in January. However, Friday night was the first time Festival Queen Katy and her court were introduced to the public.
The Melrose Primary pupil, who lives with her family in Gattonside, and her court were congratulated by joint festival chairman Douglas Hardie.
Katy will be crowned in a ceremony in Melrose Abbey during next month’s Melrose Festival when Graeme will also be officially sashed. Katy was chosen as Festival Queen after coming top in school tests, including maths, essay writing and art, which are open to the school’s senior pupils.
The Festival Queen’s court comprises Queen’s Attendants Isobel Reid and Imogen Walls, Courtiers Duncan Howard and Macx Clark-Wright, Heralds Oliver Watson and Michael Jamieson, and Train Bearers Grace McWhinnie and Amelia Edmondson.
Graeme, 20, follows in the footsteps of his older brother, David, who was Melrosian in 2006. His Right-Hand Man is 2011 Melrosian Ruaridh Nairn, while the Left-Hand Man is Scott Marjoribanks, Melrosian in 2010.
He said: “I’m really excited and really happy. I’m looking forward to the whole of the Melrose Festival Week and to going and supporting other towns. The Crowning of the Queen at the Abbey is always a good night if it’s outside and sunny.”
Friday night’s ceremony began when Ruaridh formally retired and returned his sash of office to Mr Hardie, who shares this year’s duties as chairman with George Bunyan and Mac Brown. Mr Hardie congratulated Ruaridh on the manner in which he had carried out his duties throughout the past year.
Ruaridh was installed as Right-Hand Man and instructed, along with Left-Hand Man Scott, to escort Graeme to the platform. There was loud applause from the large audience when Graeme was presented with his official rosette by Mr Hardie’s wife, Penny. Queen Katy and her court were then invited on to the stage to cheers and applause.
The half-hour appointment ceremony was followed by jubilant scenes as Graeme was carried shoulder-high by his supporters in the traditional procession, three times around the Mercat Cross, to cheers from large crowds, before returning to the hall for a wine and cheese reception.
Mr Hardie was delighted with the way Friday evening’s events went, saying: “Everything was absolutely fine – no problems at all.”
No stranger to the festival, Graeme was a herald in the court in 2003 and took part in the rideout in 2006, following brother David. A keen all-round sportsman, Graeme turns out for his university rugby team and Melrose 2nds when at home. He is also a keen golfer and bowler, and enjoys tennis, football, badminton “and every sport really”, he said.
He is four weeks into horse-riding lessons, topping up the skill he learned as a child and revived again to follow his brother six years ago. “It’s going well, I’ve managed to stay on so far!” he said.