Douglas and Maddie to lead town

With time counting down quickly to Borders festivals, Melrose principals were introduced to the crowd on Friday evening.

By Kevin Janiak
Monday, 9th May 2022, 5:13 pm
Updated Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 9:25 am

While changing to a very informal appointment celebration, the town has also changed the way in which a Melrosian is chosen, with this year’s Left Hand Man, Will Owen, learning the ropes this year before becoming Melrosian in 2023.

But this year is Douglas Crawford’s. Son of the well-known builders family, Douglas, who is now 26, was originally chosen to become the 2020 Melrosian, but with the Covid pandemic ensuring there was no full festival that year, or in 2021, it’s been a fair old wait for the rugby player.

He said: “It’s brilliant. It’s been a long time to wait, so it’s great to finally be able to fulfill the role in my first official night.

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Festival Queen Maddie Rausse stands tall, front and centre, with her classmates and train bearers Anouilh Richard and Islay Prophet.

"I think the Melrose week itself will be my highlight, but going around other town’s festivals will be interesting, too, to go and see their traditions.”

Douglas has a host of help ahead of the festivities, with Right Hand Man Ben Magowan, Melrosian in 2019, on hand to guide him through the proceedings.

Glasgow University student Douglas, who has signed a contract with Melrose Knights and also plays for the town’s cricket team, also has a host of family members to turn to. His father Michael was Melrosian in 1984, uncle Cameron in 1989 and his brother Donald in 2015.

Festival chairman Rob Moffat said: “I know Douglas well, and I know that he will be a first-class Melrosian.

Melrosian Douglas Crawford with Ben Magowan and Will Owen.

"You have been found worthy of appointment to this high office and I have great pleasure in confirming your appointment as Melrosian for 2022.”

Mr Moffat’s wife Sue was on hand to pin Douglas’s rosette and present Ben and Will with their sashes.

The appointment evening was also a chance to introduce this year’s Festival Queen to residents for the first time.

And this year, it’s 11-year-old Maddie Rausse, who is delighted to help lead her town’s festival.

The primary 7 pupil at Melrose Grammar School, said: “It’s really exciting. I’m just really looking forward to the whole thing.”

As to how she became Queen, she explained: “It’s through a series of tests that we do through the school and the girl with the highest result becomes the Queen and then the next two become the attendants.”

Maddie's first attendant is 11-year-old Sophie Middleton and second attendant is Orla McCarthy, who’s 12.

Courtier Crown and Sceptre is 11-year-old Jamie Gillespie, with 12-year-old Seb Darlow Courtier Proclamation.

Train bearers are Anouk Richard and Isla Prophet; and Heralds are Finlay Mitchell and Euan Williams.

And the Lead Cyclists are Nell Ketteridge, Advait Roshan and Harriet Lindsay.

Belle Douglas won the art competition for the John Frater Memorial Trophy and her design will appear on the front of the festival brochure.