Viv takes Selkirk Merchant Company lead as Keith gets set to cast colours

For the first time in its 328-year history, Selkirk Merchant Company has appointed a lady master to lead the organisation.

New Merchant Company master Viv Ross with standard bearer Keith Rodgerson and outgoing master Alistair Pattullo.
New Merchant Company master Viv Ross with standard bearer Keith Rodgerson and outgoing master Alistair Pattullo.

Viv Ross was unanimously endorsed by members at Selkirk Merchant Company’s AGM, held in the town’s rugby club on Friday evening.

The company’s treasurer since 2013, Viv described her appointment as ‘a tremendous honour’ and said she was very grateful to have been given the opportunity to serve as Master of ‘this ancient company’.

At the same meeting, Selkirk Merchant Company’s members approved the appointment of Keith Rodgerson as the company’s Standard Bearer for 2022.

A Souter born and bred, Keith has lived in the Bristol area for a number of years. He regularly returns to join in the Selkirk’s Common Riding celebrations, when his work commitments as a film and TV sound recordist allow.

His Lady Busser will be his wife, Patty, who hails from Peru. The couple first met when Keith was on a filming assignment in South American and Patty was the group’s interpreter.

At the AGM, outgoing Master Alistair Pattullo was thanked for his all his hard work and commitment during his three years in office. He in turn expressed his gratitude to the committee and members of the company for their support and encouragement.

He said the Covid pandemic and cancellation of two Common Ridings had presented huge challenges, but that the company had risen to meet these head-on.

Other office-bearers were appointed as follows –

Secretary, Margaret Moyes; assistant secretary, Neville Dundas; treasurer, Judith Thomson; assistant treasurer, Dale Henderson; company officer, Jim Harold; representative to the Common Riding Trust, Jake Wheelans; committee, Eileen Easton & Alistair Pattullo.

Four new members were admitted to the company – Samantha Anderson, Peter & Carol Dallas and Duncan Lawson.

At the dinner which followed the AGM, new Lady Master Viv Ross presented 2022 Standard Bearer Keith Rodgerson with his medal of office.

The toast to the Standard Bearer was given by Gerald Beggs, who spoke of Keith Rodgerson’s successful career in television and the film industry.

Working first for the BBC and later as a freelance, Keith had travelled the world and picked up numerous film industry awards, including a BAFTA in 1985 for his film sound work on David Attenborough’s ‘The Living Planet’ programme.

Replying to the toast, Standard Bearer Rodgerson said his appointment was a ‘huge privilege and honour’, and he looked forward to attending casting practices and official functions with his Right and Left Hand Men, Bruce Riddell and Stuart Davidson.

The toast to ‘Selkirk Merchant Company, Town & Trade’ was proposed in fine style by Broadmeadows farmer Alec Telfer, who praised the Merchant Company for its long-standing support of worthy causes.

Replying to the toast, Honorary Selkirk Provost Keith Miller said how pleased he was that the 2022 Common Riding could once again go ahead after all the difficulties experienced over the past two years.

The Common Riding Appeal would be launched in the coming weeks, and he urged the community to give it their full backing in these times of ever-increasing costs.

The vote of thanks was given by Margaret Moyes, while entertainment throughout the evening came from Hilary Bell, Tommy Knox and Jimmy Gibb, with Ann Witherington acting as accompanist.