It’s all in the name for Innerleithen’s main man Ronan

From left: 2017 standard bearer Liam Card and his lass Sally Brown; 2018 standard bearer Jamie Boyd and Rosie Graham; 2019 standard bearer elect Ronan Caine and Caitlin Urquhart; 2016 standard bearer Ross Brown and Faye Nicholson.
From left: 2017 standard bearer Liam Card and his lass Sally Brown; 2018 standard bearer Jamie Boyd and Rosie Graham; 2019 standard bearer elect Ronan Caine and Caitlin Urquhart; 2016 standard bearer Ross Brown and Faye Nicholson.

Innerleithen’s new Standard Bearer Elect, introduced to the town’s public at the recently-refurbished Memorial Hall on Friday evening, cannot be too much of a surprise.

His parents, Raymond and Alison Caine, are so ingrained in the St Ronan’s Games festival, they named their boy after the town’s patron saint.

Caitlin and Ronan make their way out for the standard bearers' reel.

Caitlin and Ronan make their way out for the standard bearers' reel.

And now, 22-year-old Ronan Caine will follow in the footsteps of his uncle Bobby Little (1970) and his cousin Dale (2004), and his brothers Gregor (2007) and Lyle (2013) in taking on the role.

He told us: “It’s amazing. I’ve obviously lived here all my life and to play such a big part in Games Week, which I have been following all my life, is truly an honour.

“I’m looking forward to visiting other towns, meeting new people, and spending a lot of time with my flag party, as I have known them all a long time.

“I was lucky enough to be a monk when I was in primary five, but this will be the best summer ever.”

Lady Busser Estelle Nguyen.

Lady Busser Estelle Nguyen.

His Lass, childhood sweetheart Caitlin Urquhart, also 22, said: “I’m looking forward to the whole thing. I’m from Peebles, so this is my first year as being a part of this, although I have done the ball for the last four years, accompanying Ronan.”

Ronan attended St Ronan’s Primary School and Peebles High, before studying environmental civil engineering at Glasgow Caledonian University, achieving his bachelor’s degree in built environment technology.

He currently works in Tesco’s Peebles store.

Caitlin is due to graduate from the same uni this summer, having sat her final accountancy exams last week.

Principal guest Geraint Florida-James.

Principal guest Geraint Florida-James.

The pair were welcomed onto the stage by games week chairman Alan Patterson, who also introduced this year’s lady busser and prinicpal guest.

The former was named as Estelle Nguyen, who will have the task of bussing the crozier and staves of St Ronan and the monks.

Estelle, a fifth-year pupil at Peebles High, was dux girl at St Ronan’s Primary in 2014.

She enjoys several outdoor pursuits, including sailing andskiing, as well as being an enthusiastic musician. And once she gets through a busy final exam schedule, she plans to go on to study medicine.

Standard bearers' reel

Standard bearers' reel

The principal guest this yearis Geraint Florida-James, born and raised in Limavady, Northern Ireland.

He’s currently professor in the school of applied sciences at Edinburgh Napier University, and, once he moved to Innerleithen in 2000, games week legend Norman Scott soon put him to work auditing the festival’s accounts.

He’s a sportsman of note in his own right, competing in the World University Orienteering Championships and the World Mountain Running Championships.

More locally, and possibly earning him more kudos, he has also won the punishing Lee Pen Hill Race.

He’s also an accomplished mountain bike rider, and has coached various elite exponents of the sport, including locals Gary Forrest, Katy Winton and Lewis Buchanan.

Not only that, in 2014 he secured funding to establish the Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland at Glentress.

With the introductions made, a hearty verse and chorus of On St Ronan’s was sung by the memorial hall crowd before Ronan and Caitlin joined last year’s principals and their lasses to dance the standard bearer’s reel at a frenetic pace.

The evening set the timer for 10 weeks until Ronan is officially installed as standard bearerm and there will be many events in the interim for Ronan and Caitlin to attend, representing the town at other Borders festivals.

It will certainly be a summer to remember for the duo.