The honour, pride and emotion of being responsible for the Blue Banner of St Ronan was clear for all to see at Friday’s Cleikum Ceremonies.
Aaron Somerville, last year’s Standard Bearer, had to fight back the tears as he returned the banner to chairman Keith Belleville, “untarnished and unsullied”.
He then bravely battled through his speech, wishing Lyle Caine all the best for his year ahead, and thanking all those who had made his own year so memorable.
Lyle later admitted that he, too, was starting to well up when Aaron stood before a packed Memorial Hall.
It underlines the importance of the ceremony, and Games Week as a whole, to the community, who turned out in force to watch Lyle take hold of the banner and parade it from the war memorial to St Ronan’s Well.
Speaking to The Southern shortly after the conclusion of the ceremony at the well, Lyle said: “It has been unbelievable. You have an image of how it is going to be, but when the ceremony started in the hall it was something else.
“When you are sitting waiting to go on you just want to get it done, but once I started speaking I settled down and I was alright.”
Commenting on the emotional speech by Aaron, Lyle said: “I couldn’t look at him. When he started I could hear it in his voice and it got me going a bit. I took a few deep breaths and looked at the floor. It just goes to show how much it means when you have had it for a year and then you have to hand it over to someone else.”
Lyle admitted that the now traditional round of golf between the flag party on the Friday afternoon had also helped relax him and settle some nerves.
During the ceremonies in the hall, where the programmes doubled as fans, dux boy Kieran Frost was installed as St Ronan and the croziers and staves were bussed by Hannah MacDonald, assisted by dux girl Emily McNeill.
Following the Colour Bussin’ by Zoe Taylor, Standard Bearer’s Lass and the presentation of medals to the monks and sash girls, the flag party and guests assembled outside for the service at the war memorial.
The already large audience from the hall was swelled by more members of the public as they watched Lyle stand atop the garden and proudly display the banner in the late evening sunshine.
Led by the band, the procession moved onto the High Street, where hundreds of residents had gathered to welcome their new Standard Bearer and his Lass.
Cheers rang out as Lyle and Zoe and their followers made their way up to St Ronan’s Well, where the traditional ceremonies continued.
A large audience, young and old, gathered around to witness the Standard Bearer drink water from the well from the hands of ‘St Ronan’.
The evening’s events concluded with the torchlit procession and masonic ceremony, and the march to the homes of the dux boy and girl.
Lyle said: “Just walking along the High Street with everyone there and them all cheering was great.
“My brother was Standard Bearer a few years ago, but I never really thought it would happen to me, and when I was asked I was shocked at first, but it didn’t take too long to decide to do it.
“It has definitely been worth it,” he added.
Standard Bearer’s Lass Zoe added: “It has been amazing. I’ve loved it.”
Zoe was also impressed with the way fiance Lyle had handled everything.
“He has done really well,” she said.