The young man at the centre of this year’s Lauder Common Riding will be Hagen Steele.
Hagen, 21, of Scott Road, was unveiled as this year’s Cornet and Standard Bearer for the Royal and Ancient Burgh at the town’s appointment night last Friday.
The former Lauder Primary and Earlston High School pupil works in customer services at Selkirk-based Spark Energy and plays football for Lauder FC.
Hagen is the first in his family to take on the role of cornet and will be supported throughout the common riding by proud parents Colin and Catherine Steele. His three elder brothers Alastair, Alexander and Jordan, younger brother Macauley and younger sister Bethany are also delighted to be supporting him this summer.
“They are backing me 100%,” Hagen said. “It’s something I have wanted to do since I was a wee lad.
“I have always been really involved in the common riding and as a family we have all followed since we were young, supporting on foot.
“It’s a dream come true for me.
“I’m most excited for carrying the flag on the big day and representing my town for the summer.”
A member of the 2010 Club for several years, Hagen is well versed in the ways of the common riding having first ridden behind cornet John Threadgall in 2008 and following every year since.
He found out about his appointment in March and admitted it was a relief to have the news out in the open.
He said: “I was really nervous for Friday, but it felt like a massive weight had been lifted off my shoulders afterwards. I was able to relax and enjoy my night.”
He will be supported by his right and left-hand men Greg Scott and Daniel Simpson. The trio have been friends since primary school.
Cornet’s Lass this year is another school friend, Ashleigh Scott, who also happens to be left-hand man Greg’s sister.
Hagen said: “Ashleigh knows a lot about the common riding with Greg being a cornet and she has done a lot of the rides elsewhere. I have always said it would be Ashleigh as Cornet’s Lass if I was ever to be cornet. We’ve been close friends since primary school.”
Hagen’s girlfriend of more than a year, Clare Reilly from Hawick, will also be supporting him this summer.
“She is behind me all the way,” he added.
Friday night saw Hagen carried to the steps of the town hall where he was introduced by chairman Ian Middlemiss before delivering his first address as cornet.
The big three then led the walk through the town, behind Stow Pipe Band, before heading indoors for a reception with family, visiting principals and ex-cornets in the town hall.
He was then carried shoulder-high around the town’s pubs to greet townsfolk.