Busier and better than ever, Games Week in Innerleithen is going from strength to strength. That is the message from organising committee chairman Keith Belleville.
With a packed programme of events, Innerleithen put on a show to be proud of.
A record 400 people attended the Standard Bearer’s Ball, and a similar number of flower-bearing children took part in the traditional flower parade.
Games Week is only as good as the people who make it all tick. That is why the organising committee decided to make special awards this year to those who have given many years of service to the town’s annual festival.
“Games Week 2015 enjoyed fantastic support from all sections of the community,” said Keith. “All events were busier than ever this year, with townsfolk and visitors turning out in large numbers to take part.
“We had a brilliant set of principals led by David Forrest and Shannon Knox as Standard Bearer and Lass, as well as Ally Norman (St Ronan) and Ruby Finn (Dux Girl) who headed up the child participants in the Cleikum Ceremonies.
“It was fantastic to see these young people installed in their various roles and to see them carry out these roles in such a dignified way.
“St Ronan’s Games Week goes from strength to strength and even after 188 years we are able to enact James Hogg’s vision for the people of Innerleithen: to give them something to look forward to, fun and enjoyment, whilst also observing our the traditions associated with the legend of St Ronan.
“None of this can happen without the help and support of a dedicated Games committee, a small army of other volunteers, our sponsors and the general public who help us in so many ways.”
Fittingly, the committee instigated a new award for outstanding service to St Ronan’s Border Games this year, with four recipients recognised in presentations over the course of the week.
The committee made a special presentation to Adrian and Sheila Keddie after they organised the car treasure hunt for the 23rd time.
“We are very grateful to them for all their hard work over the years,” said Keith, after presenting them with a certificate.
Ronnie Wilson received a certificate of outstanding service during Saturday’s sports. He has worked in the “background” for 40 years, helping the Games with a number of tasks, including mark stewarding at the sports and working with the flag squad for decades.
“Ronnie is one of the finest members of the small army of volunteers who make sure Games Week happens each year,” said Keith.
“A true unsung hero, we had no hesitation in agreeing the recommendation of Ronnie for this new award. He has worked tirelessly over the years and, quite simply, the Games would not happen without this type of selfless support.”
Ex-Standard Bearer David Lindsay became the third recipient of a certificate during the Beating of the Retreat on Saturday.
“He has recently completed 50 years in St Ronan’s Silver Band and has played a leading part in many Games parades and Retreats over the years,” explained Keith. David was joined on the street by his wife, Lorna, for the presentation. “We are delighted to be able to recognise Davy’s contribution.”
Sarah Lindsay became the youngest ever life member of St Ronan’s Border Games, having completed 25 years of continuous service.
She was Standard Bearer’s Lass in 1990 and has been a member of the committee ever since, serving as sports secretary since 1997.
“Sarah has been an excellent worker on behalf of the committee for all of this time,” said Keith.
“As well as all the work involved in organising the sports, which have flourished in the last few years, Sarah has been involved heavily in the wider work of the committee, particularly the preparations for the ball and grand prize draw.”