The 85th Braw Lads’ Gathering got off to a well-attended start when a large crowd witnessed Friday night’s declaration of this year’s principals.
A sea of brollies up Lawyers’ Brae was the sight that awaited this year’s Braw Lad and Lass as they were announced to the waiting crowds on a showery evening.
Braw Lad for 2015 is 21-year-old livestock auctioneer, Cameron Pate, son of the 1984 Braw Lad, William Pate, of Mossilee Farm, Galashiels.
His Braw Lass is Edinburgh University dental hygiene therapy student, Abbie Frankland, from Tweedbank.
A former pupil of the Earlston Primary and High Schools, Cameron, who works for Newtown St Boswells-based auction firm, John Swan & Son, is the youngest of four children.
And the impact of his dad having been Braw Lad is clear to see: “I’ve never missed attending a Gathering and have also ridden quite a few as well,” said a delighted Cameron, who also plays rugby for the local Gala club and is a keen curler. t
He added: “I have also been a piper with the Galashiels Ex-Service Pipe Band since I was 14 and so have played at a lot of Gatherings as well - however, that role will have to take a back seat for the next three years now obviously.
“I was so proud when I was announced as this year’s Braw Lad on the balcony of the Burgh Chambers - it was a fantastic moment. It is a great honour.
“The weather wasn’t too bad and there was a good crowd out on Lawyers’ Brae. The streets were a bit wet for the traditional schoolchildren’s dancing, but everything went really well and it was the start of an amazing weekend.”
Braw Lass Abbie Frankland has also had a long involvement with the Gathering, with step-mum June Bertham being Bearer of the White Roses in 1985.
“There was a very good crowd out on Friday, although it was a sea of brollies that greeted us when we emerged onto the balcony,” said the former pupil of St Peter’s Primary and Galashiels Academy.
”It went really fast and it was only over the weekend, with people stopping me to offer congratulations, that it started to sink in.
“I have been saying I now just wish for it all to start, but other principals have said not to wish it to come soon as they all say it is then over too fast - and it will be 10 years this summer since I first rode at the Gathering which will make it extra special.”
This year’s Attendants are Bearer of the Sod Ex-Braw Lad Gavin Young; Bearer of the Red Roses Ex-Braw Lass Alice Mackay; Bearer of the Stone Ex-Braw Lad Daniel Whitehead and Bearer of the White Roses Ex-Braw Lass Lucy Black.
Gathering chairman David Houston was pleased with the way Friday night went: “The rain just about kept off for Declaration Night, but it was another huge turnout and the kids seemed to enjoy themselves.
“The evening in the Burgh Chambers went very well with the first official function, not only for the new Braw Lad and Lass, but our new President of the Gathering, Dave Romanis.
“Mr and Mrs Neil Ballantyne once again donated a spectacular model of The Reiver to the new Braw Lad and Lass and presentations were made to outgoing Past President Andrew Johnston, new Life Member of the Gathering Mr David Stillie and retiring minister Duncan McCosh and his wife.
“The dance in Volunteer Hall was also well attended and the start of our 85th year seems to have gone well with another busy year ahead.”