Craig is Selkirk’s main man for 2019

The long wait for Souters was finally over last night as the 2019 Standard Bearer Craig Monks was revealed to an excited crowd.

Saturday, 27th April 2019, 12:47 pm
Updated Saturday, 27th April 2019, 12:50 pm
Craig Monks is carried on the traditional chair around the town before the Appointment Night Concert in the Victoria Halls.

However, for the 28-year-old self-employed fencer, it’s been a lengthy journey as well.

He told us: “It’s been 11 years since I was first attendant, so it has been a long wait.

“I really can’t wait for the big day. It has been a long time coming.

Royal Burgh Standard Bearer Craig Monks is carried from the Town Hall at 7pm on Friday evening.

“The rain has thankfully stayed off for us tonight, so hopefully that bodes well for the common riding.”

The former Knowepark and Selkirk High School pupil has been so deeply ingrained in his town’s festivities that the honour of carrying the burgh flag round the marches and casting it in the Market Place is just about the only thing he’s yet to do.

He plays rugby for his hometown club, as well as playing in the town’s silver band and the flute band.

And, as is required for anyone chosen to carry the flag, he has acted as an attendant for four Royal Burgh Standard Bearers - Guy Blair in 2008, James Cheyne in 2009, Michael Craig in 2011 and last year, supporting Peter Forrest.

Royal Burgh Standard Bearer Craig Monks, flanked by his attendants (back row: Conall Fairbairn and Andrew McColm; front row: Liam Cassidy and Adam Nichol.

He was revealed, from the grand doors of the refurbished town hall to great cheers from a large crowd on a chilly Friday evening and was carried on a chair, shoulder high, through the streets, before arriving at the Victoria Halls for the Appointment Night Concert.

His attendants this year have a healthy mix of youth and experience in their ranks.

Taking part in their first common riding are Andrew McColm, 19, and Conall Fairbairn, 17.

Liam Cassidy, 19, is on his second term of duty, while senior attendant Adam Nichol, 24, is serving his third term.

Royal Burgh Standard Bearer 2019, Craig Monks, with his horse Amber.

There, the packed hall delighted in singing of common riding songs, such as Hail Smilin’ Morn and Up Wi’ The Souters O’ Selkirk, led by talented young singer Milly Coltherd.

Once introduced to the crowd by chairman of the Ex-Standard Bearers Association Gary Guthrie, Craig gave an impassioned speech, full of praise for Keith Miller, honorary provost of the Selkirk Common Riding Trust in his first year of office, as well as for Peter Forrest, the man whose shoes Craig is having to fill this year.

The night was concluded with the Appointment Night Dance, with fantastic tunes played by the band Skyline.

Despite the chill, the evening marked the start of the summer for the Souters o’ Selkirk, who will be praying for a Hail Smilin’ Morn on June 14.