Love for weaving leads to flying the trade’s flag

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Michael Pepper is about to be woven into the long history of Weavers standard bearers after being appointed at the Incoporation’s agm on Friday.

Michael, who is 27, lives in Galashiels, but he was born and brought up in Selkirk.

He began following the Weavers in 2013, when his partner Clare Shiels’ father David was standard bearer.

Since then, he has secured a modern apprenticeship at Anthony Haines Textiles in Level Crossing Road.

He said: “I love it, It’s great fun ... it doesn’t even feel like work.

“I’m the first of my family to be standard bearer, but I was eligible to join as my dad Brian used to work in Gardiners.

“I am really looking forward to it, meeting all the new people will be fantastic, but I’m sure the highlight will be standing on that platform and casting the flag.

“I think I’ll be feeling a mixture of excitement and nervousness.

“I have had a few practices casting since I joined, but this year I am ready.

“I can’t wait.”

His lady busser will be his partner Clare, who is 23.

He was congratulated by new deacon Mick Quinn.

He told us: “Michael is a great lad.

“It really means something to me that the first standard bearer under my charge is actually an apprentice weaver, as I don’t think that’s happened for a while.”

Mick, 53, said becoming deacon was not really in his sights until recently.

He said: “I’ve never really thought about it up until the last year, when Keith Russell said he was standing down.

“When my name was put into the hat, I decided to go for it. It is a good thing to do.”

Mick, who worked in Laidlaw and Fairgrieve’s Selkirk mill when he left school, said keeping the tradition alive is very important.

“I’m going to be involved a lot more with the united crafts and looking to get a lot more youngsters involved,” said Mick.

“I’d like to explain to them how the weavers flag can be relevant to them and how they can be a part of the Common Riding.

“We need to keep this tradition going, or it will die.”