SUNSHINE bathed the stage in Yetholm on Friday evening for the announcement of this year’s Bari Gadgi and Bari Manushi, Daniel Blackburn and Kim Fleming, writes Andrew Keddie.
Community council chairman David Hutchinson was MC for the evening and retiring Bari Gadgi and Manushi, Sam Torrance and Lesley Gillie sashed the new principals.
The new Bari Gadgi told the crowds outside the Plough Hotel: “It’s a great honour and privilege to be asked to be Bari Gadgi this year. We both hope to do a good job, as good as Sam and Lesley did last year – and I hope to see you all during festival week.”
Daniel’s first task in his new role was to present former Gadgi Robin Butler with his 50 year medal.
Alistair Cockburn and Diane Thomson (nee Bell) gained their 25 year medals this yeare.
Rev Robin McHaffie blessed the new principals, who followed two pipers and led a procession of visiting principals from other Borders towns and ex-Bari Gadgis and Manushis to the Wauchope Hall for the singing of town, Common Riding and festival songs.
Kim is the daughter of farmer Jim and primary school office administrator Sheila Fleming of Lochside, Yetholm. Mr Fleming said: “We’re proud parents and absolutely delighted.”
Kim, 22, works as a prescribing support technician based at Borders General Hospital and enjoys going out with her friends, horse riding and keeping fit.
She said: “I feel so honoured to have been asked to be this year’s Bari Manushi and I’m looking forward to a fantastic summer ahead.”
Becoming the figurehead for the festivities has been a lifelong dream for Kim. She said: “Since I was a wee girl I always wanted to do the ride to Stob Stanes and seeing the Bari Manushi, I thought I would like that to be me one day.”
She’s completed Yetholm’s rideout several times and this year achieves her other wish and with Daniel, will lead the cavalcade next month.
She’s looking forward to the whole week but the Wednesday evening rideout the most and added: “It will be really good to meet all the different principals at the other towns and make lots of new friends and I’d like to wish Dan good luck this summer too.”
Daniel, son of Margaret and Phillip, moved to Yetholm eight years ago and is the assistant bar manager in his family’s business, the award-winning Border Hotel in Kirk Yetholm.
The figurehead role is becoming something of a family tradition, for Daniel’s brother Craig was Bari Gadgi in 2007.
Daniel, 25, said: “I feel very proud to be the Bari Gadgi. I’ve been to the festival every year since I came.”
He enjoys fishing, walking and gardening, and is busy learning to horse ride, having started two months ago.
He said: “It’s going well so far, I’ve been cantering and I’m clinging on so far!”
Mrs Blackburn said: “I’m really proud. I was amazed when Daniel was asked and I felt so proud of him on Friday. It was great for Craig and I’m pleased Daniel has been given the same opportunity.”
Yetholm Festival Week starts on Saturday, June 10.