Yetholm’s festival week is set to be a family affair

2012 Yehom Bari Gadgi and Bari Manushi, Kenneth Kelly and Zoe Keddie after their declaration on friday.
2012 Yehom Bari Gadgi and Bari Manushi, Kenneth Kelly and Zoe Keddie after their declaration on friday.

CHILLY weather did nothing to dampen spirits in Yetholm on Friday night when more than 100 people assembled outside the Plough Hotel for the announcement of this year’s Bari Gadgi and Bari Manushi, writes Sally Gillespie.

The young principals are Kenneth Kelly and Zoe Keddie – and festival week is going to be even more of a family affair than usual for the village. For Zoe’s partner, Clive Kelly, is Kenneth’s brother and was the 2004 Bari Gadgi.

The Wednesday rideout to Stob Stanes will include Clive, Kenneth’s wife, Rebecca, Kenneth’s mother-in-law Caroline Ewart, his two sisters-in-law Victoria and Anna, and his son, Michael, eight, who will be undertaking the ride for the first time on his 21-year-old pony Charlie. And daughter Grace, three, will ride through the village on her 11hh pony, Daisy, as the cavalcade departs.

Lorry driver Kenneth, 28, said of his appointment: “I was chuffed to be asked to represent the village and am looking forward to the week. Rebecca was well made up and so was Michael. I’m looking forward most to the Stob Stanes ride and the refreshments and socialising afterwards.”

The former Yetholm Primary and Kelso High schools pupil worked at Olivers Transport, Eccles, in the workshop before moving to Swinton as a mechanic briefly and returning to Kelso to fence and going back to Olivers to train as an HGV driver about seven years ago.

His hobbies outside work centre around the family: “We’ve just got a caravan which is a new hobby for the whole family. Otherwise, the weekend is taken up with Michael’s rugby training and the kids and their ponies.”

But he is fitting in a few horse riding lessons in preparation for the summer festivities.

He told us: “I can horse-ride a wee bit, but I have been getting lessons to brush up on the finer points.”

Meanwhile, Zoe is jubilant. She said: “I’m totally honoured, it’s great, it really is.”

The 22-year-old homemaker has a three-year-old son, Mark Antony, with partner Clive and they live in Morebattle Road.

She is also expects the Stob Stanes rideout to be a highlight: “I’m looking forward to leading the cavalcade and leading riders out of the village.”

And of being Bari Manushi with her partner’s brother as Bari Gadgi, Zoe confirmed: “It will make it more special – the festival week will be a good family occasion.”

From Jedburgh, Zoe moved to the village with her family when she was seven. She attended St Mary’s School in Melrose before going to Longridge Towers, near Berwick, studying hairdressing at Borders College and becoming a barmaid at the Plough Hotel in Yetholm. Her hobbies are acting – she’s a member of the Bowmont Theatre – and music, in particular, singing.

Master of Ceremonies for Friday night, community council chairman David Hutchinson said: “It was an excellent evening. We had a good turnout – there were well over 100 people there which, considering the bitterly cold evening, was very good. There was a very nice, friendly, jolly atmosphere which was an excellent start for the principals’ year in office.”

The new principals were sashed by last year’s Bari Gadgi and Bari Manushi, Daniel Blackburn and Kim Fleming. And Kenneth and Zoe’s first duties were to present medals to the 50 and 25-year principals, Carol Butler and Ian Law, and Janice Gillies and Stephen Purves respectively.