This year’s Lauder Cornet and standard bearer for the royal and ancient burgh is Chris Rogerson.
The 21-year-old, of Burncastle Farm, was given a rousing reception as he was unveiled to the town at last Friday’s appointment night.
A familiar face around Borders farms, the former Lauder Primary and Earlston High School pupil is a livestock auctioneer for Stirling-based United Auctions.
He previously worked with Newtown auctioneer John Swan for four years before travelling around New Zealand for four months, then returning to take up his current post in Stirling, which sees him split his time between the auction ring and canvassing for stock around farms.
Chris is the first in his family to take on the role of cornet and will be supported throughout the common riding by dad Alan, farm manager at Burncastle, and mum Linda, who works at the town’s Knight Frank estate agent’s.
His elder brother Michael, 24, works in human resources at the Borders General Hospital at Melrose and is also delighted to be able to support Chris this summer before as he prepares to leave the region to join the Royal Air Force.
“I’m the first in my family to do something like this,” Chris said. “My family has never really been involved with the common riding, but they will definitely be following everything and will soon learn very quickly what it’s all about.
“I’m sure they’ll get the rideout bug like I did.”
Chris first followed on horseback in 2015 after taking up riding to support his friend Cameron Pate, that year’s Galashiels Braw Lad. He’s ridden each year since and soon made becoming Lauder Cornet his ambition.
He said: “I can’t wait to get stuck in, to be honest, and to fly the flag for Lauder.
“I’m looking forward getting round all the other towns but mainly looking forward to Lauder’s week, of course, and doing the best I can now that it’s all starting.
“Hiding out in the post office and seeing all the crowds gather on Friday night was nerve-wracking. It was a big relief when it was finally out. It felt like an absolute age from February to May, but that night passed very quickly.
“I keep being told to take it all in as the next three years passes so quickly. It will be a quick summer but a very enjoyable one.”
Cornet’s lass this year is Chris’s school friend Caitlin Megahy, 21, daughter of 2002 cornet David Megahy.
Chris said: “Caitlin was a year above me at primary school and all through high school, and both us and our families have been good friends since then. I couldn’t wish for a better person to spend the summer with too.
“She is a good rider, and I know her family are chuffed to bits for her and will be very involved too.”
The pair will be supported by right-hand man Hagen Steele and lass Ashleigh Scott and left-hand man Greg Scott and lass Jennifer Cook.
Chris added: “I know Hagen and Greg very well and followed them as much as I could when they were cornets. I’m looking forward to a summer with them and, of course, Ashleigh and Jenny as well.”
Friday night saw Chris carried to the steps of the town hall to be introduced by chairman Ian Middlemiss before delivering his first address as cornet.
Then followed a walk through the town, behind Stow Pipe Band, before heading indoors for a reception with family, visiting principals and ex-cornets in the town hall.
Chris was then carried shoulder-high around the town’s pubs to greet townsfolk.