Hawick Common Riding stalwarts honoured for century’s worth of service

John Hope, George Linton and Stuart Marshall, three of the common riding committee's four new life members.
John Hope, George Linton and Stuart Marshall, three of the common riding committee's four new life members.

Four stalwarts of Hawick Common Riding’s organising committee have been honoured with life memberships after completing almost a century of service between them.

At the committee’s annual general meeting in the lesser town hall last Thursday, that rare honour was bestowed on John Hope, Billy Welsh, George Linton and Stuart Marshall.

It was handed out in recognition of their voluntary efforts in helping ensure that the annual common riding has been a success, year after year, for decades.

Having served the committee for nearly 20 years, Mr Hope, cornet in 1963, was master of ceremonies for 12 years and, before that, assistant master of ceremonies for three years.

Mr Welsh and Mr Linton, ball convener for three years, have worked tirelessly for the committee, helping out at all functions and marshalling rideouts and huts for many decades.

Mr Marshall was vice-chairman for three years and succeeded the late Ronnie Nichol as chairman in 2009, serving until 2014, with four of those years also being spent as a councillor and honorary provost.

The Hawick and Denholm councillor enjoyed the rare distinction of holding all three roles at one time.

Mr Marshall was also hut convener for many years and presided over the 500th anniversary common riding in 2014.

He said: “I am absolutely delighted to become the one of the newest life members, and I’m very grateful to the common riding committee for recognising me in this way.

“I look forward very much to assisting them in whatever way that I can.”

Mr Hope added: “Becoming a life member at last week’s AGM was a wonderful and kind gesture by the committee, and I’m certainly looking forward to giving them as much support as possible when they start to put plans in place for the common riding next year.”

Committee chairman Cameron Knox said: “Congratulations are due to the four gentlemen who were given honorary life membership of the common riding committee at the recent AGM.

“Between them, they have served on our committee in various roles for a total of nearly 100 years, and their experience and knowledge of the common riding is invaluable to the committee.”