Kelso Laddie role is a dream come true for Sean
It will be 18 years this summer since Sean Hook first followed Kelso Civic Week on horseback at just six years old.
And come July, the 24-year-old will lead that week as the 2018 Kelso Laddie, having been unveiled in front of waiting crowds and given a rousing reception in the town square on Friday night.
And for the keen horse-rider, his appointment is a dream come true.
“I have always hoped to be Kelso Laddie,” he said.
“I think deep down it’s one of the dreams that you have, but I never thought it would actually happen.
“The reception I got when I walked out on Friday is a feeling I will never forget.
“We were lucky with the weather, so fingers crossed it stays like that for the rest of the summer.”
He added: “I was youngest rider back in 2000, so I have been able to ride for a while. I rode from Kelso to Yetholm at six-and-a-half-years-old. I have followed on and off since, though it took a bit of a back seat when the rugby took over.”
The former Broomlands Primary and Kelso High School pupil, now working for Coldstream-based electrician’s W P Purvis, is also a keen runner and played for Kelso Quins under-18s’ team until injury put an end to his rugby days.
He will be supported this summer by his parents, childminder Lynne and postman Keith, his younger sister Abbie and his lass, Leanne Woodruff, his girlfriend of five years.
Leanne, an accounts worker at Kelso’s Country Corner, is also a keen horse-rider and is looking forward to following on in the saddle beside Abbie this summer.
The couple live at the old hospital and they have two horses of their own.
Sean will be aided in his duties by right and left-hand men Craig Logan and Ian Whellans.
He added: “Leanne is originally from Northampton but has been up here for a good few years now and understands what all happens.
“I’ve been making sure she comes to things over the past few years, though, so she is picking it all up.”
Sean was first approached and asked to take on the role back in February,
“It has been hard to keep it quiet,” he admitted.
“That night I got a phone call from Ian, who told me he was coming up to see me and that I should get my mum and dad up, so that’s how it all started, and they knew straight away.
“My sister was sitting at home worried that something bad had happened, so we had to tell her too.”
He might be the first in his family to be named Kelso Laddie, but Sean comes from a family steeped in Borders common riding tradition, with his great-uncle Jock Murdoch serving as Jedburgh’s herald between 1971 and 1973 and his father following his native Hawick Common Riding on horseback over many years, and he is relishing the chance to fly the flag for Kelso.
“That’s what I’m looking forward to the most,” he said.
“Following the other towns’ festivals and seeing what they all do as well will be very special, but carrying the flag in Kelso and being entrusted with that honour will obviously be a highlight.”
Sean’s lady bussers, also introduced on Friday, are Broomlands Primary pupils Ruby Ward and Katelyn Guthrie and Edenside Primary’s Abigail Hinnigan and Hayley Galbraith.
This year’s 25th and 50th anniversary celebrants are 1993 laddie Michael Ballantyne and Jim Hoggarth, the 1968 laddie.