Selkirk Common Riding ball changes prove a hit in royal burgh

IT looks as if the experimental changes to the format of the Selkirk Common Riding Ball, to safeguard the future of the event, have been successful, writes Mark Entwistle.

Recently, we reported how falling numbers and escalating costs had required bold decisions in an effort to appeal to a younger audience.

Common Riding excutive chairman Colin Anderson had explained how there had been a slight drop-off in numbers of around 10 to 15 couples over recent years and the event’s main caterer had pulled out after year one of a three-year contract.

As a result, organisers announced that a formal dinner will be held at 8.30pm, with a stream-lined grand march and pre-bookable tables and seats for the duration of the ball.

And speaking this week, Mr Anderson told TheSouthern that the new format was proving very popular and had generated great interest with almost all available tables sold.

He added that ball convener, John Beveridge, is confident the event will be a sell-out.

Mr Anderson admitted that the new format of selling designated tables before the ball had been a bit of an experiment but the evidence suggested it has been a success.

He told us: “Greatly aided by the organisational skills and local knowledge of committee members Audrey Craig and Karen Beveridge, most people’s individual requirements have been met.

“The flexible approach has meant that tables have been allocated to flag casting committees so they can support their standard bearer, with some opting for the main hall and others for the marquee.

“Royal Burgh Standard Bearer Gavin Henderson will be well supported by at least three tables of family and friends, and the committee continues to do everything it can to accommodate the needs of individuals and casting committees.”

Mr Anderson ventured that changing traditional events in Selkirk to meet customer wishes wasn’t always an easy option. “However the vast majority of ball-goers have been more than happy to work with the ball committee to ensure the usual tremendous finale to Selkirk’s biggest day of the year,” he said.