Rodgerson holds his nerve in special year for Selkirk
Sorry, we're having problems with our video player at the moment, but are working to fix it as soon as we can
Waiting for Video...
There was 500 years of history weighing on Martin Rodgerson’s shoulders, as well as a family tradition ingrained in the Common Riding.
Five centuries since the Battle of Flodden and Fletcher’s show of defiance inspired one of the most eyecatching spectacles of any Borders festival.
And 28-year-old Martin also had to live up to huge expectations, with grandfather George (1950), dad Brian (1980) and uncle Ian (1986) having all held the honour of being Selkirk Standard Bearer.
At times, the emotion of the occasion seemed too much for Martin, such as at The Toll when he gave girlfriend Jayne Andrew the biggest of hugs.
But ultimately, the newsagent for once made the headlines by Casting the Colours in style in front of thousands of Souters and visitors.
With a huge smile on his face in the Town Hall after handing back the Royal Burgh flag, Martin said it would take a few days for him to take it all in.
He told TheSouthern: “I got a brilliant crowd and brilliant attendants to support me.
“The highlight was the Casting. I decided to take my time going up there as you only get one chance to do it and I wanted to do it right.
“It was very windy when you got on the stage but to see everyone up there supporting me was amazing.
“The wind also made it hard when we were up the hill.
“There was a lot of pressure on me to live up to the standards of previous Standard Bearers, but hopefully I lived up to it.
“I think it will be a few days until I realise what I have done.”
As has been the case for centuries, Hail Smiling Morn began with the sound of the flute band at 4am, wakening new Provost David Anderson and Standard Bearer Rodgerson, who insisted he got some sleep ahead of his big day.
Martin admitted to being delighted with the sunny weather conditions, after being drenched last year as attendant to Gavin Henderson in the wettest Common Riding since 1948.
The Act of Remembrance at the town’s War Memorial followed, poignant as ever, before the Silver Band’s first drum and the sound of the Exiles singing Her Bright Smile rang out.
Martin’s long wait to get hold of the Royal Burgh flag on Common Riding day ended at 6.45am on the Victoria Halls balcony and he made the promise to return it unsullied and untarnished.
He, along with attendants Adam Nichol, Greg MacDougall, Thomas Bell, Menzies Haining and Chris Sanders led off the cavalcade of 337 to check the boundaries of the Royal Burgh – 900 years since King David granted Selkirk large amounts of its current land.
Doon the Green they went to the sound of O’ a’ the Airts, and through the low lying River Ettrick.
The riders made the steep climb to the Three Brethern, and came back into the town. Martin, on board Rogan, led the procession back to huge roars from the awaiting crowd at The Toll.
The strength of the wind was evident to the on-foot supporters in the Market Place, as each Standard Bearer struggled in the conditions.
But led by Martin, they did themselves proud – Hammermen (Kieran Riddell), Weavers (David Shiels), Fleshers (Scott McKenzie), Colonial (Robert Mailer Anderson), Merchant Company (Ian Main) and Ex-Soldiers (David Deacon).
David then dipped the flag for the two-minute silence, a moving moment that later prompted a tear from the Ex-Soldiers Standard Bearer.
A video of Martin Rodgerson’s casting can be viewed at thesouthernreporter.co.uk