‘Absolutely tremendous’ says Sharkey

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Last Thursday, Hawick Cornet Euan Reilly and his party travelled to St Leonard’s Hut for the traditional ordering of curds and cream.

They were led to the top of the Loan by the Drums and Fifes, and a large crowd of wellwishers awaited at Nipknowes for the chases.

First up was Acting Father Stuart Sharkey, who led the Married Men’s Chase.

He said: “It was absolutely tremendous when we came up Haggis Ha’, an unbeleivable feeling to see all the folk who have come to see the event.

“And when we came up to the crossroads to St Leonard’s to wait for the Cornet coming, the smile on his face said it all.”

Then came the Cornet Chase, with Euan leading the way and right- and left-hand men Gregor Hepburn and Ross Gibson following closely behind.

Euan told the Hawick News: “The Chase was simply unreal – the crowd was fantastic.

“What a buzz it was riding up there, it was definitely one of the highlights so far.

“And when I walked into the Hut, everybody went nuts. What a night that was, and everybody spoke fantastically well.”

They were followed by the Unmarried Men’s Chase, a traditionally nervous time for mothers and girlfriends.

The parade then continued to the Hut, where the horses were left with their ‘hauders’ and the men were regaled with songs and speeches and the Acting Father was presented with his badge of office.

Acting Father Stuart, who has been following the Cornet for 21 years, said: “The noise in the Hut was completely deafening – there was definitely a lump in my throat – and to get my badge of office from my friend – the Provost Stuart Marshall – was the icing on the cake.”

Songs were sung by Michael Aitken, Graham Hogg, Henry Douglas and Ian Nichol – and speeches were made from the heart, with the Acting Father naming absent friends, his mother, Stevie Lyons and David Darling.

After ordering the curds and cream for the big day, it was time to rejoin the lasses for the singing of Teribus, and the “strive” for the bairns before heading back into town.