Footballer Steven kicks off Innerleithen’s celebrations

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Berwick Rangers midfielder Steven Notman has been chosen to carry the Blue Banner of St Ronan this year.

Alan Patterson, chairman of St Ronan’s Border Games, introduced Steven as Standard Bearer-elect to the townsfolk in a full-to-capacity Memorial Hall on Friday.

Steven, 24, a former pupil of St Ronan’s Primary and Peebles High, started his football career with Leithen Vale Sports Club in Innerleithen, spending eight years at Hibernian before being released in 2008 after a series of injuries.

While continuing his playing career with the Shielfield Park side, Steven works with RCF Garden Landscaping in Peebles.

Steven has a long connection with the festival, having served as a monk in 1996 and 1998.

Steven’s Lass is Kirstie Evans who works as a hairdresser in her hometown, Peebles. Educated at Kingsland Primary and Peebles High, Kirstie studied hairdressing at Telford College in Edinburgh and, for more than five years, has worked at Murray’s Hair Studio.

Accepting his appointment, Steven said: “It shall be my earnest endeavour to carry out the duties of the office of Standard Bearer to the satisfaction of my fellow townspeople.

“On behalf of my Lass, Kirstie, and myself, I thank you, Mr Chairman, for your kind remarks and you, ladies and gentlemen, for the reception accorded to me this evening.”

Steven and Kirstie are greatly looking forward to Games Week and to representing the town around the Borders.

Other principals introduced on Friday were Principal Guest Jeremy Purvis and the Lady Busser Eilidh Hughes.

Mr Purvis was Lib Dem MSP for Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale for eight years until his defeat in the redrawn constituency last Thursday. He will deliver the main speech during the Cleikum Ceremonies on Friday, July 15, and is well qualified for the role, having taken a keen interest in the Border festivals while an MSP.

Eilidh, who was Dux Girl in 2006, will buss the colours at this year’s festival of the Cleikum. As a fifth year pupil at Peebles High, she is undertaking her Highers in a range of subjects. In her spare time Eilidh likes to cook, read and write short stories.

After Steven’s acceptance speech, 2010 Standard Bearer Jason Card led three cheers for his successor and the company, led by St Ronan’s Silver Band, gave an enthusiastic rendition of a verse and chorus of On, St Ronan’s!

Following the introduction ceremony, Innerleithen Pipe Band led the principals and townsfolk round the town and back to the Memorial Hall where a large crowd watched the official party dance a very energetic Standard Bearers’ Reel.

A reception was then held when visiting principals from Peebles, West Linton, Penicuik, Musselburgh, Lockerbie and Edinburgh, as well as other invited guests, were entertained.

The headteacher of St Ronan’s School Keith Belleville will introduce St Ronan, the Dux Girl, Monks, Sash Girls and Lantern Bearer on Friday, May, 27, completing the line-up for this year’s celebrations.