VIDEO: The 2018 Jethart Callant is revealed

There can be no doubt that this year's Jethart Callant Nick Arnold is a popular choice if the resounding cheer that welcomed him onto the hustings on Friday is anything to go by.

Nicholas Arnold
Nicholas Arnold

The 21-year-old grinned from ear to ear as one of the Borders’ best-kept secrets was finally outed by the town’s honorary provost, Harvey Oliver.

Making history, Nick becomes the 72nd Jethart Callant and the first in his family to take on the role.

Nicholas Arnold

“It’s something that I have always aspired to do, but you never quite know if you will be asked,” he said. “Friday night was amazing. I had the hairs on the back of my neck standing up all night.

“I was taken into the courthouse early on, and it felt like the longest wait ever, but when I finally got to bed at 6am the next day it felt like the whole night had just passed into a couple of hours.”

It was a special night too for his parents – David, a stocktaker and pub adviser now living in Denholm, and Susan, a bookkeeper living in Ancrum – as well as his elder brother Louis, 23, a carpet-fitter and photographer in Jedburgh.

Nick studied at Ancrum and Parkside primaries and Jedburgh Grammar School before taking up work as a custodian at Melrose for Historic Environment Scotland, his employer for the past four years.

Nicholas Arnold Jethart Callant 2018.

On Friday, Nick was carried out shoulder-high from the town hall by his right and left-hand men, Brodie Irvine and Gary Hogg, and they will support him this summer alongside Brian Marshall , now in his final year as herald.

The celebrations that followed inside the town hall saw speeches from the provost, guest David Greer, ex-callant Grant Raeburn, festival convener Len Wyse, ex-callants’ association president John Mabon, festival committee member Judith King, Kelso Laddie Sean Hook, Nick and his father David.