Two young villagers are set to return to Yetholm this summer to take the helm of its annual festival week.
Students Stefan Cameron and Emma Wauchope have been named this year’s Bari Gadgi and Bari Manushi.
The pair were greeted by friends, visiting principals and villagers at a ceremony in the Wauchope Hall on Friday evening.
Born and raised in the village, Stefan attended the village primary and Kelso High schools before heading north to Dundee to study marketing and business at Abertay University for four years.
The 22-year-old follows in the footsteps of elder brother Anders, the 2013 bari gadgi.
“Anders has been a good help to me so far,” Stefan said.
“This is definitely something I have wanted to do.
“I was always involved with events in festival week growing up and obviously got to watch my brother lead it.
“This is the best time to be doing it. I’m looking forward to getting home for the summer and following as much as I can.”
He will be supported on foot this year by dad Ewan, agriculture director at the family’s water treatment firm, Scotmas in Kelso, and mum Kirsty, who moved to the village from Sweden 22 years ago.
Although Stefan has never ridden before, he already has plenty of lessons under his belt, having been learning since he found out about his appointment back in October.
“I can’t wait to get started with everything,” he added.
“Friday night couldn’t have gone any better. There were lots of principals from other towns, lots of whom I know already, so that was great.
“And although I didn’t go to school with Emma, we have seen a lot of each other already, and I am sure I’ll have a great summer with her.”
For Bari Manushi Emma, her appointment means a welcome return to the saddle, a hobby which fell by the wayside a few years ago.
The 25-year-old said: “I have always ridden as a child and was a member of the Duke of Buccleuch Pony Club when I was younger.
“I am really looking forward to getting back into riding.”
Like Stefan, she too will be returning to her home village for the summer.
After attending Yetholm Primary School, St Mary’s School in Melrose and Musselburgh’s Loretto School, Emma will graduate with a degree in medicine at Newcastle University this summer and already has a job lined up at Aintree University Hospital in Liverpool.
“It will be really nice spending the whole summer at home and going around all the different events for each festival and common riding,” she said.“Both Stefan and I are keen to do the same things at the festivals and to do as much as we can.”
Her parents James and Vicki Wauchope live in the village and will support her this summer, along with brother Angus, now working in London.
“I used to love going to festival week with my family when I was little, so it will be great to lead it this year,” Emma added.
“We are hoping to get both mum and dad on a horse this year, and my brother was hoping to ride too, but he’s just broken his foot so that may not happen now.”
Emma and Stefan were officially installed and sashed by Yetholm Primary School pupils Emma Neill and Corey Cruddas on Friday and take over the reins from Tom Grindell and Natasha Gray.
Festival week runs from Friday, June 7, until Saturday, June 15, with a rideout to Stob Stanes on the Wednesday.
“The very first thing we do is go to the school and meet the children at their assembly which I think is really lovely,” Emma said. “The festival has evening events for everyone in the village, not just rideouts.
“There’s something for everyone and that no doubt includes Stefan and I getting a soaking at the duck race.”