Tradition maintained at Rig eighty years on

The William Lees Memorial Cup, competed for at the Rig every year on Common Riding Friday, has extra significance this time around.

Thursday, 23rd June 2016, 11:22 am
Updated Thursday, 23rd June 2016, 12:23 pm
From left: Sheila Lees Spence, Royal Burgh Standard Bearer Rory Monks, winning jockey Sam Coltherd, Bill Lees and Alan Lees. In front Evan Lees.

Because 2016 marks 80 years to the day a proud Willie was Royal Burgh Standard Bearer.

And with it, comes poignancy, as, like so many other Souters, Willie’s life was cut short in the ravages of World War II.

Willie’s neice Sheila Lees Spence, said: “My grandparents donated the trophy [the William Lees Memorial Cup]to be raced for every year at Gala Rig by those from Selkirk who had ridden the Marches in the morning.

“Willie’s son, Bill Lees, along with Willie’s grandson and great grandson, and other members of the family made the trip to Selkirk on Friday.

“Bill was proud to present our grandparents’ trophy to this year’s winning jockey, Attendant Sam Coltherd.

“It was a very emotional day for all of us.

“Next month, my husband and I will be visiting Willie’s grave in Bergen Op Zoom war cemetery in the Netherlands and Royal Burgh Standard Bearer Rory Monks has very kindly given us ribbons to leave there with Willie.”