Elliot’s secret is out and Lauder has its main man

Lauder’s Cornet for 2022 was introduced to the townsfolk on Friday night, and it’s not a moment too soon for Elliot Balson.

By Kevin Janiak
Thursday, 12th May 2022, 11:03 am
Elliot Balson and his Lass Connie is congratulated by their attendants. Photo: Kenny White.
Elliot Balson and his Lass Connie is congratulated by their attendants. Photo: Kenny White.

The 28-year-old comic artist told us: “Like other Borders principals, I’ve known this was coming since 2020, so I’ve had to keep the news to myself.

"However, a few of my friends had found out somehow.

"It’s great to at last be able to tell folk. It’s been a long two years, but it’s here now."

Elliot, whose family moved to Lauder 17 years ago, said standing in front of the crowd was strange after two years of Covid.

He said: “It was all a bit surreal. I haven’t taken it all in yet, but I’m sure I’ll catch up soon.”

Elliot, who studied art at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, is the first of his family to be Cornet, but his family have a rich history in the Borders festivals.

He said: “My father, Cliff Balson, was bearer of the stone at Galashiels 40 years ago, and my uncle Robert was Dux Boy at Innerleithen 50 years ago, so the two years off may have worked out for the anniversaries!”

Elliot, who has worked on a comic showcasing Walter Scott’s The Highland Widow to celebrate the famous Borders author’s 250th anniversary year, as well as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, said lockdown wasn’t a good time for him, and not just because of the delayed festivals.

He said: “My Lass Connie White and I didn’t really see much of each other during the lockdowns, so it will be fantastic to actually get together at the social events with loads of people.

"My Right Hand Man Chris Purves, too, I’ve been friends with him since primary school, so it will be great to have him show me the ropes.”

Elliot’s Right and Left Hand supporters are Chris Purves, Zoe Bruce, Chris Rogerson and Caitlin Megahy.

Elliot added: “For the folk of Lauder, I think it will mean a lot to get the Common Riding going … I just hope we are able to do everything safely and there won’t be any more restrictions.

"Most importantly, I hope everybody in the town has fun, it’s been a long time coming."

Lauder’s Common Riding Week begins with the Kirkin’ O’ the Cornet on Sunday, July 31, and the big day is on Saturday, August 6.