The principals taking the reins at this year’s Galashiels Braw Lads’ Gathering were unveiled in front of a huge crowd in the town on Friday evening.
The announcement of Greg Robertson as Braw Lad and Amy Thomson as Braw Lass was made from the burgh chambers balcony just after the clock struck 8pm by gathering president David Romanis.
And both proved popular choices, receiving a huge applause from the hundreds of townsfolk enjoying seeing the town’s declaration night graced by fine weather.
Greg, 21, of the town’s Annfield Gardens, was educated at Langlee Primary School and Galashiels Academy, and he is now a finance and business management officer for the Scottish Government based in Edinburgh.
A son of Scott and Lesley Robertson, he is vice-captain of the 3rd Galashiels Boys’ Brigade, secretary of Gala YM Rugby Club and a rugby referee.
His brothers Craig and Gary play rugby for Gala and his sister Lisa is a Scottish international.
His dad served twice as an attendant and later as chief marshall for 10 years, and his uncle Malcolm Robertson was also an attendant.
Greg said: “It’s been an ambition for them to have one of the children as braw lad or braw lass, so they are absolutely overwhelmed that I’ve been chosen. The smiles have never come off their faces.”
He added: “It’s overwhelming. It’s slowly setting in now, but it didn’t seem real at first.
“I’m really looking forward to supporting the other Border festivals now too, and I can relate to how they’ll all be feeling over the next couple of weeks.”
Both Greg and Amy are members of the Right Angle Theatre Company and have acted in main roles together before.
Greg added: “I know Amy really well. We have built up a good partnership, which I think we will be able to carry on with this summer’s partnership too.”
For 20-year-old student Amy, becoming braw lass has been a long-held ambition.
She too is following in the footsteps of her parents as her mum Lana was braw lass in 1985 and her dad Kevin was bearer of the sod in 1988.
Amy went to St Peter’s Primary and Galashiels Academy and is now studying primary education at Edinburgh University. She is currently on placement at Trinity Primary School in Hawick and also coaches the first-year hockey team at Galashiels Academy.
She said: “The first time I followed the braw lass and lass on horseback, I was five years old. Being braw lass is something I have always wanted to do, and it’s great to finally be able to fulfil that ambition.
“To be doing this alongside Greg is great as it’s good that we know each other so well already.
“Friday evening was really exciting, but for the secret to finally be out is a huge relief.”
She will be supported by her younger brother Finn, who also rides, and little sister Jess, who is looking forward to following on foot.
Greg and Amy will be duly supported by the bearers of the sod and stone and red and white roses – former principals Mark Hood, Cameron Pate, Alex Mundell and Abbie Frankland.
After unveiling this year’s principals, gathering president Mr Romanis said: “Once again, we have six fine young people who will carry on the traditions of our gathering and who will represent the town with honour when they visit neighbouring burghs.”
The town’s first official rideouts are spurs night on Friday, May 19, followed by the ride to Threepwood a week later on Friday, May 26.