Selkirk setting the standard for Olympic celebrations

selkirk’S Standard Bearer looks set join the town’s Olympic celebrations.

The royal burgh’s chosen one for 2012 is expected to stand alongside the Olympic torch on the Market Place platform on Thursday, June 14 – less than 24 hours before he is handed the burgh flag for his common riding duties.

However, a suggestion from the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) that the Standard Bearer provides a mounted escort to the torch has been ruled out due to health and safety fears regarding the horses.

The Common Riding Trust has also persuaded LOCOG to incorporate the decorated Market Place in the torchbearer’s route which was announced last week, rather than previous plans to avoid it.

Clerk to the trust, Johnnie Thomson, told TheSouthern: “We are pleased they have considered our thoughts on the torch being rerouted through the town centre. Our thinking was that with the dais for the Casting of the Colours already in situ, it can be used to display the torch and provide a photogenic opportunity.

“It is great to be involved in the torch procession, but it was not practical for the Standard Bearer to escort the torch on horseback.

“I believe there is a huge convoy following the torch and there will be plenty of noise, with helicopters flying above. It would be risky.”

Mr Thomson also denied rumours that the trust was opposed to the flame’s presence in the town. “There has been some mischief-making going on, suggesting we did not want the torch coming through Selkirk on common riding week. That was never, ever in the trustees’ minds. When you get an opportunity like this you have to grab it.”

Not one of the eight Selkirk torchbearers named this week are from the town.

But Selkirkshire councillor Carolyn Riddell-Carre said: “No, it won’t be a Souter (carrying the flame), but Selkirk itself which will take centre stage. I think that that’ll be a wonderful moment to showcase the burgh.”

The torch will be carried through the Borders by around 40 torchbearers, arriving in Eddleston, with its final destination Foulden before it leaves Scotland for Berwick.