Rob ready to don the red jacket as Jethart’s new herald

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Jethart Callant’s Festival has announced that Robert Reid will serve as herald for the next three years, having been selected by previous callants and heralds last night.

Rob, 35, will take over from Brian Marshall in ensuring each of the town’s rideouts between now and 2021 is impeccably timed and planned out.

The former soldier first followed behind callant Eric Wright in 1996 and has followed on horseback, on foot, or from afar each year since, gaining his Redeswire badge in 2010.

“I am buzzing,” Rob said this week, “Being named herald means everything to me.

“Ever since I returned to Jed and got myself involved in the festival I have looked up to my peers, the likes of Graham Slorance, Gary Armstrong, Alan Learmonth and Brian Marshall, and to see them in the role and to work as hard as I have for each of them, it’s a huge honour to now follow in the role.”

The former Howdenburn Primary and Jedburgh Grammar schools pupil has been a keen horseman from a young age, taking up his first job as a hand at Langlee Stables, near Jedburgh, aged just 13 and going on to study horse management at college.

He worked at the town’s Starrett factory and as an apprentice butcher before enlisting with the Kings Own Scottish Borderers regiment aged 18.

Between 2001 and 2008, Rob was deployed to 17 countries around the world, completed three operational tours in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan and was promoted corporal, before his time in the British Army came to an end in 2011 following his medical discharge after being the victim of a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2008.

Rob lost an eye and suffered severe injury to his leg and hip in the accident, which ultimately led to him becoming involved in the town’s festivities.

He added: “From serving in the army as a commander I have always been a person to lead from the front.

“I have served my country and served my local battalion. And to represent my home town as the Jethart herald - words cannot describe how proud I am.”

Lindsay Wilson, festival secretary, said he has been a “festival stalwart” since joining the committee in 2009.

“After being injured Rob wanted to get back horse riding and involved in the festival,” she said. “Riding ex-callant George Miller’s horse in 2009 allowed Rob to try his hand at marshalling and from that point onwards Rob has been involved in all things Festival from putting up bunting, marshalling or helping at the ball.

“After buying his own horse he became involved with the rides committee and since 2010 has been a stalwart of the recce rides and a regular mounted marshal covering gate opening, closing, first marshal and general cavalcade work.”

The father-of-two now works as a fabricator at Oregon Homes in Selkirk and has until the first rideout to Morebattle in June to check each of the rideouts routes in turn and support the callant and his henchmen at the other Border festivals, before he and his horse Darcy take the lead at the head of each cavalcade during this year’s Jethart Callant’s Festival which runs from June 23 to July 12.

He will be supported by his wife Katie, young daughters Poppy, 3, and Matilda,1, parents Jennifer and Michael Reid and siblings Julie Reid and Toni Scott.

“Poppy is a really smart wee girl, so we are going to start teaching her the songs and hopefully we can get her and maybe even Matilda, on a horse behind me before my last year is up.

“That would be a really proud moment for me.”

This year’s Jethart Callant will be announced to the town on declaration night on Friday, May 17.