Selkirk auctioneer’s patience reaps reward

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Selkirk appointed Greg MacDougall as their Royal Burgh Standard Bearer at last Friday’s Picking Night.

“He’s made a very good start to the weekend,” said Selkirk Provost David Anderson, who presided over the Appointment Night in the town’s Court House. “Greg’s been an Attendant five times – the record before was four – so he’s very experienced,” he added. “We’re confident he’ll do a good job.”

The 27-year-old livestock auctioneer is well-practised for a role where there’s no manual, and Attendants must learn by watching all the traditions on the day, before it’s their turn up – sometimes up to 10 years later.

“I know the ins and outs of the whole thing,” Greg told us.

“In Selkirk, we do it properly. You only do it once – you do it right.”

Greg first Rode the Marches as an Attendant behind Colin Squance in 2004, followed by Scott Tomlinson in 2005, then Alasdair Craig in 2007, Michael Craig in 2011, and finally Martin Rodgerson in 2013.

Greg’s appointment was viewed with pride by his parents, postie Ewan and Laura, and his four grandparents, including Mary and Jim ‘Basher’ Inglis – the former Scottish rugby player.

His father cast the flag as Selkirk’s Merchant Company Standard Bearer in 1999, as did his cousin Alister Heatlie for the Colonial Society in 2009. While his uncle James Heatlie lead the cavalcade around Selkirk’s common lands as Royal Burgh Standard Bearer in 1976.

The auctioneer, a confident public speaker, addressed his assembled family, friends, and the Common Riding Trust, at a slower speed than he is used to in his day-job, selling cattle and sheep to Yorkshire farmers at Richard Turner & Son in Bentham. He admitted to “jeelly legs” when he first took centre stage, but quickly found his stride after the first few words.

He told the assembled crowd: “Words cannot describe how proud I feel at this present moment. This is not only a huge honour for myself, but also for my family, and I feel so privileged to have been given the opportunity.”

Addressing the 30 Ex Standard Bearers, he said: “Their journeys have come and gone. Tonight, mine is just beginning. After 11 years in waiting, my time has finally arrived.”

He congratulated Ex-Standard Bearers Ian Galloway and John Beveridge on their Golden and Silver jubilees respectively, and thanked all Standard Bearers for their support over the last decade, wishing the Ex Soldiers Association’s Fiona Deacon, Selkirk’s first female Standard Bearer, all the best.

True to centuries-old tradition, the doors of the Court House were then thrown open, and the new Standard Bearer was carried down the steep steps on a chair, to be greeted by the cheer of the crowd gathered in the Market Place – a large turnout, despite the rain.