Whitehead and Black perfect combination for Braw Lads’ celebrations

Galashiels, UNITED KINGDOM. - 19/04/13 : 'Braw Lads Gathering 2013'Declaration Night''2013 Braw Lad Daniel Whitehead'2013 Braw Lass Lucy Black'2012 Braw Lad Ryan Mania, Bearer of the Sod'2012 Braw Lass Nicola Mackay, Bearer of the Red Roses. '2011 Braw Lad Lewis Playfair, Bearer of the Stone, 2011 Braw Lass Suzanne Henry, Bearer of the White Roses.''(Photo by  Rob Gray / freelance / � 2013)

Galashiels, UNITED KINGDOM. - 19/04/13 : 'Braw Lads Gathering 2013'Declaration Night''2013 Braw Lad Daniel Whitehead'2013 Braw Lass Lucy Black'2012 Braw Lad Ryan Mania, Bearer of the Sod'2012 Braw Lass Nicola Mackay, Bearer of the Red Roses. '2011 Braw Lad Lewis Playfair, Bearer of the Stone, 2011 Braw Lass Suzanne Henry, Bearer of the White Roses.''(Photo by Rob Gray / freelance / � 2013)

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It was something both Daniel Whitehead and Lucy Black admit they have pondered and considered for a number of years.

But any doubts the Galashiels pair had about becoming Braw Lad and Lass vanished on Friday night as a huge crowd welcomed the town’s 77th Gathering representatives.

Galashiels, UNITED KINGDOM. - 19/04/13 : 'Braw Lads Gathering 2013'Declaration Night''2013 Braw Lad Daniel Whitehead'2013 Braw Lass Lucy Black'2012 Braw Lad Ryan Mania, Bearer of the Sod'2012 Braw Lass Nicola Mackay, Bearer of the Red Roses. '2011 Braw Lad Lewis Playfair, Bearer of the Stone, 2011 Braw Lass Suzanne Henry, Bearer of the White Roses.''(Photo by  Rob Gray / freelance / � 2013)

Galashiels, UNITED KINGDOM. - 19/04/13 : 'Braw Lads Gathering 2013'Declaration Night''2013 Braw Lad Daniel Whitehead'2013 Braw Lass Lucy Black'2012 Braw Lad Ryan Mania, Bearer of the Sod'2012 Braw Lass Nicola Mackay, Bearer of the Red Roses. '2011 Braw Lad Lewis Playfair, Bearer of the Stone, 2011 Braw Lass Suzanne Henry, Bearer of the White Roses.''(Photo by Rob Gray / freelance / � 2013)

Daniel, 21, has plenty family ties to the festival, with mum Alison an attendant in 1981, as was his late granddad Jimmy “Knickers” Robertson in 1954, while cousin Craig Whitehead was Braw Lad ten years ago.

A customer services assistant from the town’s Santander branch, Daniel said: “Friends and family have been telling me to go for the Braw Lad for the last few years but I only felt ready this year.

“I was so nervous before I stepped out on to the balcony but there were so many people I could not see any 
faces.

“I preferred to keep it quiet and only my mum and dad found out I was to be Braw Lad – that way it was a big surprise for everyone else.”

Lucy’s announcement as Braw Lass produced tears of joy for younger sister Chloe McGurk, a primary seven pupil at the Burgh School, who had no idea her older sibling was to take on the role.

The 23-year-old, a sporting manager at Braidwood Clays near Selkirk, added: “It is nice because Chloe is stepping up to Gala Academy this year from the Burgh, where I also attended.

“I have thought about it (Braw Lass) for a long time but have never felt ready.

“This year I just thought ‘go for it’.

“I have ridden the Gala Day before and live on Lawyer’s Brae right beside the Town Clock so the family always support the festival.”

This year’s attendants include Grand National winner Ryan Mania as Bearer of the Sod, while his 2012 Braw Lass Nicola Mackay is Bearer of the Red Roses. Lewis Playfair, 2011 Braw Lad, is Bearer of the Stone, and his Braw Lass Suzanne Henry is Bearer of the White Roses. Daniel and Lucy’s next engagement is Spurs Night on May 17.