University student Harry Fletcher has been announced as Melrosian elect for 2018.
The 21-year-old will take on the role as Melrose’s representative across the common riding circuit, and was introduced at the Ex-Melrosians’ Association’s annual Burns Supper at the Greenyards on Saturday evening.
Currently in his final term studying petroleum geology at the University of Aberdeen, the keen sportsman is looking forward to a busy summer ahead before he hopes return to studies next autumn for a masters course.
“I have always watched the festival and thought it a very good thing to be involved in, but never thought I’d be in the running at all,” he said.
“Its a very big honour to be asked and to represent the town. I never thought it would be me, but here I am.”
His parents Jonathan and Catherine and younger siblings Rosie and Jamie are equally excited, having been involved in the festival before when Rosie was a train bearer.
Harry said: “This is a big shock for all of us at the moment, but they are all excited.
“My sister was train bearer when I was in primary seven. That was the first time I was properly involved and I’ve have been to watch the rideouts and bike rides since.
Before his move to Aberdeen, Harry was involved in the town’s rugby, tennis, basketball and crickets clubs as well as taking part in Earlston High School’s musical productions and Gala Opera. Completely new to horse riding though, he is looking forward to getting into the saddle for some intense lessons ahead of his first time in the saddle in June.
“It’s going to be interesting,” he admitted. “I’ve had one lesson in the Borders and have a lot booked in for up here. It’s going to be intense but I am looking forward to leading my first rideout and meeting all the other principals over the course of the summer.”
Harry will be supported by his left and right hand men Struan Hutchison and Russell Mackay, both of whom he has known since his school days at both Melrose Primary and Earlston High School.
Their first official duty will be the picking night in May and this year’s festival runs from June 17 to 23.
The Burns supper was chaired by Bryn Thom, with Michael Crawford addressing the haggis and Don Ledingham providing the immortal memory. The toast to Melrose town and trade was delivered by Nigel Brown and Scott Marjoribanks gave the reply. Last year’s Melrosian, Russell Mackay, gave the toast to the lasses, replied to by Lesley Marr. The vote of thanks was given by Struan Hutchison. Donald Swanson piped in the haggis, Emma Archibald recited Tam O’Shanter and Drew Scott entertained with songs.