Anyone who has doubts about the popularity of Borders common ridings and festivals among young people just needs to speak to the Melrosian-Elect for 2016.
Struan Hutchsion, from Newstead, is 19 and currently a sports management student at the University of Northumbria in Newcastle. The youngest of the two sons of Jim and Lorna Hutchison, he was announced as Melrosian-Elect for this year as is tradition at the annual Burns Supper staged by the town’s Ex-Melrosians organisation.
Held at Melrose Rugby Club on Saturday, the supper enjoyed a capacity gathering, with a selection of speakers and entertainers. Festival Chairman Michael Crawford presented Struan with his festival tie and wished him every success during his year of office.
Struan, who turns 20 in May, is a former pupil of Melrose Grammar and Longridge Towers schools. His elder brother Blair, aged 21, is a student at Loughborough and was a member of the Festival Queen’s Court a decade ago.
Speaking this week, Struan, who plays rugby for Melrose and his university and has trained with the Scotland Under-20s squad, told us he was delighted to be Melrose’s main man for the summer: “It’s something I have wanted to do for a long time. I am so chuffed to have been asked.
“Honestly, it’s a dream come true and I think if you ask any young lad in Melrose if they’d want to be Melrosian, the answer would be a massive ‘yes’.
“It is a massive honour and I will do my very best to make everyone proud. I can’t wait for the summer and the festivals to get started now!”
And he is making sure taking part on horseback will be an enjoyable one: “I have been taking lessons so hopefully that side of it will all go well.”
And mum Lorna is equally delighted: ““We’re absolutely thrilled for Struan and the family is really looking forward to the summer and the festival.”
Top table at the Burns Supper comprised Max Robbie (chairman), Donald Francis (Immortal Memory), Ex-Melrosian Donald Crawford (Toast to the Lassies), Emma Ironside (Reply to Toast to the Lassies), Jamie Macpherson (Toast to Melrose Town and Trade), James Marjoribanks (Reply to Toast to Melrose Town and Trade), Ex-Melrosian Fraser Anderson (Vote of Thanks).
The Address to the Haggis was given by Michael Crawford, with singers f being Drew Scott and Clark Eaton-Turner, and the piper was Donald Swanson.