THE Ancient Order of Mosstroopers have been warmly praised for their plans to bring the town’s 1514 Monument back to its original glory.
And ex-Jethart Callant Donald Miller, in his Toast to The Mosstroopers, congratulated the club, whose motto is ‘Aye Defend’ on its efforts to preserve the past for future generations.
The £10,000 project to restore The Horse, which was sculpted by the late William Beattie and unveiled almost 100 years ago, is part of the 2014 celebrations (the 500th anniversary of Hornshole), bringing the bronze back to its original condition as it was seen back in 1914.
Mr Miller said: “For years and years to come the folk of Hawick and the many visitors who pass through the town will marvel at its magnificence and you should draw great strength and pride from a selfless job extremely well done.
“That very monument will ‘Aye Defend’ this town and its people and will serve to remind young and old of the importance of continuing riding and marking its boundaries, upholding its traditions and celebrating the gallant bravery of those young Hawick men almost 500 years ago.”
It was an inspired choice of speaker from president Grahame Nichol, who hosted a tremendous evening of entertainment at what was the club’s 88th annual dinner.
Having already overseen a hugely successful Burns Supper earlier in the year, Mr Nichol continued in the same vein with a night of great friendship and cameraderie.
After being well fed by the staff from Brydons Mr Nichol turned his attentions to the young man sitting to his right as he proposed the Toast to this year’s Cornet Chris Ritson.
He said: “Chris, you are about to embark on what will be the best fortnight of your life.
“Over the past two weeks you have endeared yourself to the townspeople of Hawick, with your broad smile and gentleman-like manner.”
And this year’s Cornet boasted both as he replied, telling of the great honour it was to receive his Mosstroopers badge back in 2004 when he first followed ex-Cornet Craig Rodgerson and reiterating his disbelief that he is now at the head of the cavalcade.
He said: “The Mosstroopers Club is one of the three main Common Riding clubs in our town that encourages horsemanship from a very young age.
“That is essential for the future of this club and our Common Riding.
“The day I received my Mosstroopers badge was a very special day indeed. This is the badge every young Callant wants. Who would’ve thought, nine years on, that I would be here at your dinner as Cornet. What an honour.”
Hard working committeeman Doug Riddle proposed the Toast to the many guests at the dinner, while Hawick News reporter Gavin Gibbon offered up a reply, which included spots of humour and heartfelt sentiment.
There was a special mention for silver Jubilee Cornet Stuart Farish and a special presentation was made to Golden Jubilee Cornet John Hope, while 65-year Cornet Charlie Whillans favoured the company with a few words.
Another committeeman, in the shape of John Tait, proposed the Toast to Acting Father Stuart Hunter, who replied, like his Cornet, with a similar feeling of great pride.
Great humour was afforded from committee member Ryan McGee in his Toast to the Right and Left, while there were no shortage of laughs from Left Hand Man Michael Robertson in his reply.
Throughout the night, entertainment was also provided by the Drums and Fifes, Michael Aitken, Henry Douglas, Liam Berridge, Alan Brydon, Ronnie Nichol, Keith ‘Chugger’ Brown, Tam Amos, Malcolm Grant, Ian Scott, Bernie Armstrong, Doug Riddell, Ian Nichol and Ronnie Tait, with Ian Seeley accompanying them all superbly on piano.
A well deserved Toast to the Chairman on a job excellently executed was proposed by vice-president Cammy Kyle.