CARRYING out his duties as Braw Lad this coming weekend will have extra meaning for Ryan Mania, following the death of his friend and fellow jockey Campbell Gillies on Tuesday morning.
In his address at the Braw Lads and Lasses Association Dinner that same night Mania proposed a toast to Gillies who was killed in a swimming pool accident while on holiday.
Mania told TheSouthern: “It was very emotional, but I felt it was the right thing to do.
“I have been friends with Campbell for five years, we came through the ranks together. I was devastated to hear of his death. I find it a little scary that things like that can happen out of the blue and I truly feel for his family.”
Gillies had relatives in both the Lauder and Hawick areas, as well as being loved and respected among the large racing community, and was no stranger to the local festivities.
“He often went to Hawick Common Riding,” added Mania. “I know he will be looking down on me this weekend, having a laugh, most probably. Perhaps he can arrange some good weather for me while he’s at it.”
An investigation has begun into the exact circumstances of the accident.
More local tributes on page 29.