Home they came, frae a’ the airts

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Selkirk Colonial Society welcomed a great many returning Souters and visitors to its annual colour bussin’ concert in the Victoria Halls on Wednesday.

It was certainly a case of a’ the airts as the visitors were introduced to the audience by guest chairman James Bunyan, with Canada, Australia, Qatar, Germany and France all getting a mention.

Former colonial standard bearers, father and son Donald (1976) and Marcus Waldie (1999) were also present to witness the installation of the 2017 colonial standard bearer, Martin Murray.

Society chairman Ian Clapperton presided alongside the guest chairman, and in his opening remarks, he thanked the people of Selkirk for their ongoing support of the society.

He referred to the plans to permanently put the society regalia on display in the Haining and of the continuing partnership with the high school which involved the senior history class looking at the impact of Scots on the empire, with the history medal being awarded at the concert.

He encouraged people to support all the organisations who put so much effort into making the common riding a success.

The guest chairman warmly welcomed everyone to the bussin’ and spoke of the annual pilgrimage by the many overseas Souters and their descendants to the common riding.

He kept the audience amused with a few anecdotes of his common riding experience and read out the many messages from Souters across the seas.

Mr Clapperton introduced this year’s colonial standard bearer. Although not a local, Martin, a civil engineer, married into a weel-kent Selkirk family and played rugby for the town, before moving to Qatar in 2013 with his wife Fiona (McKenzie) and children Ruaridh, 14, and Sarah, nine.

Fiona bussed the flag and both were given a rousing cheer and a chorus of Up Wi’ the Souters.

Provost Jake Wheelans, Royal Burgh Standard Bearer Kieran Riddell and his burleymen and attendants were then introduced to the audience.

Jim Jackson and Margo Craig from the Edinburgh and Midlothian Souters’ Society presented Kieran with the society medallion, strengthening its century-long links with the bussin’ concert and common riding.

Kieran thanked them, before warmly welcoming the exiles and wishing everyone a great common riding.

Provost Wheelans remarked on how pleasing it was to see so many visitors and exiles from overseas.

Wilma Burgon, headteacher of the high school, expressed her support for the society’s history medal and announced the winner, Abbie Linton, who received the medal and a cash sum.

Entertaining the audience in fine style were local singers Ian Wilson and Milly Coltherd, with Dave Mackay at the piano.

The high school band joined forces with the silver band, under the baton of Colin Kemp, and they kept the audience royally entertained with all the favorite common riding tunes.

During the evening, a presentation was made by society secretary Aileen Firth to Falconer Grieve in recognition of sterling service as community singer at the concert.

The concert concluded with a vote of thanks from Mr Clapperton.

He wished everyone a hail smilin’ morn and, for the riders, safe oot, safe in, before the exiles and overseas visitors retired upstairs for the traditional reception.