A large crowd turned up to Selkirk’s Victoria Halls yesterday evening to see local joiner Peter Forrest carried shoulder high out of the front doors.
It heralded the start of his tenure as the town’s representative for the summer tour of Borders festivals, including, of course, Selkirk’s own, on June 15, when the 26-year old rugby player will ride the marches and cast the Burgh flag in the shadow of the Walter Scott statue in the Market Place.
It was also a moment the 6ft 3in second-row forward has been waiting for for a long time, after riding the marches on 11 occasion, four of them as an attendant.
He said: “It’s brilliant. My lifelong dream came true tonight.”
The venue for the reveal was a slight break from tradition, with the usual starting point, the town hall, being deemed a health and safety risk due to it undergoing a bit of a makeover.
Peter told us: “It is unique in that I’m the only standard bearer to come out of the Victoria Halls. And I’m the only member of my family to hold the position, so it’s firsts all round.”
He was carried, or bounced, on a chair by his attendants Craig Monks, 27, Robbie Reilly, 19, Thomas Willmott, 18 and Liam Cassidy, 18 – the latter serving his first term of duty.
All will ride with Peter on his big day.
Also helping out on the carrying duties was last year’s standard bearer Kieran Riddell.
Kieran said: “I feel quite relaxed handing over the reins, probably for the first time in a year!
“But there’s nothing I did in my year that I regret and there’s nothing I didn’t do which I feel I should have, so I’m happy with that,”
Peter was carried up Back Row, down Kirk Wynd, and back along Market Place and High St, returning to the Victoria Halls for the Appointment Night Concert.
There, he was congratulated by his parents, Rob and Ann, and his fiancee Emma Pearce.
He was also welcomed into the fold by chairman of the Ex-Standard Bearers Association, Gary Guthrie, and Honorary Provost of the Selkirk Common Riding Trust, Jake Wheelans, who is on his third and last year of office.
Jake, who has known Peter for years, having come through the Youth Club rugby team.
Jake told us: “I don’t think we could have picked a better lad to be standard bearer.
“I’m absolutely sure he will be a superb representative of the Royal Burgh and his family.”
Also present at the concert was the silver jubilee standard bearer Stuart Coltherd, who has since gone on to train racehorses, with one entry – Captain Redbeard – in the Grand National this year.
The Southern broadcast the proceedings on Facebook Live, and once again, Souters frae a’ the airts were watching.