Peebles cornet can’t believe he’s about to live the dream

Peebles Cornet is Daniel Williamson'Cornets Lass - Susan Thomson
Peebles Cornet is Daniel Williamson'Cornets Lass - Susan Thomson

Leading from the front at the Beltane Festival in Peebles will be Cornet Daniel Williamson and Cornet’s Lass Susan Thomson - both of whom are steeped in the Beltane tradition.

They were named at a public ceremony in the town on Friday night when the identities of other key principals were also made known.

Warden of Neidpath  - James Moffat (left)'Warden of Cross Kirk  - Malcolm Jefferson

Warden of Neidpath - James Moffat (left)'Warden of Cross Kirk - Malcolm Jefferson

The young Beltane Queen – who will be selected next month – will be crowned on the steps of the Parish Church by Mrs Theresa Hindhaugh who is no stranger to the Beltane.

This year’s Warden of Neid­path is James Moffat, a stalwart of Tweeddale Rovers Football Club.

The honour of Warden of the Cross Kirk goes to the Reverend Malcolm Jefferson, the minister at St Andrew’s Leckie linked with Lyne and Manor.

And the Boundary Reader is local solicitor Struan Ferguson who was Dux Boy at St Ronan’s Primary School at Innerleithen during the 1999 Games Week.

Cornet Elect Williamson told The Southern: “I am absolutely overwhelmed – this is truly living the dream. As a member of the silver band I have watched many cornets being installed but it was unbelievable even to think that one day it would be me. It is really fantastic and I am so proud and looking forward so much to representing Peebles elsewhere.”

Cornet Elect Williamson was educated at Priorsford Primary and Peebles High Schools. He was playing in the senior silver band aged 11 and leads the development section of the band. He currently plays with Newtongrange..

His career in the health service began at Peebles Nursing Home and he is now with NHS Lothian while undertaking a bachelor of nursing course at Napier University.

On previous Beltane Red Latter Days he has been a mouse, a Mexican and a penguin.

By his side this summer will be family friend Susan Thomson who has ridden the marches for the past 25 years and her previous Beltane characters have included a fairy, a sailor girl and a Lady in Waiting.

Daniel commented: “She is a real friend of the family and has worked with horses and trained former cornets and their lassies with Alastair Hogarth at Linglie Farm at Selkirk. She loves Peebles and truly deserves to be Cornet’s Lass.”

Susan attended Priorsford Primary and Peebles High. After a spell as a lifeguard at her local swimming pool she now works in the accident and emergency department of the Sick Kids Hospital in Edinburgh.

Jimmy Moffat, the Warden of Neidpath, served his apprenticeship as a joiner 
with Renwick & Weir in the town had has been a maintenance officer with Wemyss & March Estates for more than 30 years. He has also served Tweeddale Rovers for 25 years including a spell as their manager.

Cross Kirk Warden Malcolm Jefferson was a community worker before returning to university to train as a minister.

After probation at Liberton Kirk in Edinburgh, he moved to St Andrew’s Leckie in March last year.

Crowning Lady Theresa Hindhaugh‘s brother and uncle – Michael Rice and David Wright – are both ex-cornets and she has been helped make the Beltane costumes for 23 years.