Ross plays a starring role

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The crowds were out early on Saturday to line Kelso’s streets and cheer off 228 riders behind this year’s Kelso Laddie on the ride to Yetholm.

The cavalcade left The Square in fair weather at 8.30am on Saturday and it was the Reverend Ian Clark who welcomed 2014 Laddie Ross Henderson and his henchmen to the war memorial at Yetholm.

Ross laid a wreath before riding on to Kirk Yetholm where he was officially welcomed by Yetholm Community Council chairman Susan Stewart on the Green and Bari Gadgi Scott Gillies presented the Kelso Laddie with a Yetholm Jagger.

Picnickers enjoyed lunch before the cavalcade headed back to Kelso. By the time the riders reached home, however, the heavens had opened, but the drizzle still failed to dampen the spirits of the large crowd which welcomed the cavalcade back into the town behind the pipe band.

Right-Hand Man Calum Thomson’s mum, Vera, presented Laddie Ross with his blue bonnet after which the platform party acknowledged and cheered on the mounted cavalcade.

The cup for youngest rider went to Frances Cromarty, 7, while the trophy for the oldest went to Mark Skilbeck.

After he had returned the burgh standard at the end of Saturday night’s ceremonies, Ross told The Southern of his “brilliant” time.

“It has all went so quickly. Right now it’s all just a blur, but it really has been an amazing week.

“My personal highlights have to include tonight carrying the burgh standard back through the town and seeing all the fantastic support – that was definitely a highlight.”

Ross said the weather had not posed a problem: “There was a little drizzle, but it’s been a lot better than the forecast.”

Ross said being Laddie was something he had always dreamed of: “Yeah, it was always something I had my eye on; something I’d long set my sights on.

“With my father in 1987 and my uncle in 1980, Civic Week is something I’ve been involved with all my life.

“It is definitely a dream come true and definitely something, without any doubt, that any young lad who gets the chance has to just go for.

“The friendships you make and people you meet make it incredible.”

Provost John Bassett also enjoyed this year, his second in the role of civic leader: “Last year I was chasing my tail a wee bit, but this year I was more relaxed and that made it a bit more enjoyable for me personally.

“As for our Laddie this year, I think Ross has been outstanding; a really good ambassador for the town.”

Civic Week chairman Scott Forbes confirmed all Saturday’s riders had returned home safe.

“There were no problems – it was an excellent day. We had a few minor spills earlier in the week, but nothing serious and so it’s been a fantastic week.”

Oldest rider Mark Skilbeck was also delighted: “I’m always very happy to come and ride here. It was a bit wet coming back, a bit strenuous, but good and a wonderful day out.”




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