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RIDERS who make the annual pilgrimage to Mosspaul were warmly praised for upholding the fine traditions of the Ancient Order of Mosstroopers.

At last Friday night’s annual dinner, Ian Lowes said the founding fathers of the club would be proud to see the customs being maintained as they are.

And, giving his toast to The Mosstroopers, the president of Hawick Archaeological Society assured more than 200 members and guests that, in this year’s Cornet, Ross Nichol, the present and future of the club is in very safe hands.

Mr Lowes, a self-confessed horse-fearing, non-riding, Common-Riding foot soldier gave an historic, interesting insight into the Mosstroopers of old, peppered with poetry, prose and verse that went a long way to explaining the motto of the club ‘Aye Defend’.

Admitting to feelings of admiration and envy that he would never ride over the hills to Mosspaul among the mounted cavalcade, he said: “The days of riding out in defence of your kinsfolk, your neighbours, your way of life and your dear Borderland are in the past, but as long as this great club continues to encourage the callants of Hawick to ride our marches like our fathers did in days of yore, the memory and the history of the Mosstroopers will always be with us.

“And that memory and history of the past will be the inspiration for the future and ensure that year after year as June days draw nigh the good people of Hawick will always acclaim the heroes that got their banner of fame and come out in support of our Cornet and his followers.

“Tomorrow that support will once again be to the fore and if the grand old man of our Common-Riding, Jed Murray, and Tom G. Winning, the first president of the Ancient Order of Mosstroopers, were standing at the Tower Knowe watching yet another in the long line of Cornets lead out his cavalcade of followers and be able to listen to the streets of the grey auld toon echo to the cheers of hundreds of townsfolk, they would be justifiably proud that the object of the club that was reconstituted in 1920 to support and encourage the spirit of Hawick Common-Riding and its elected Cornet had been carried and held through the years.”

The spirit of the Common-Riding was there in abundance in the town hall as club president Alan Brydon welcomed the large gathering.

While the date may have clashed with other events on the calendar, the huge numbers showed the evening was as popular as ever, and throughout the evening there were presentations made to the Cornet, Ian Cook, who celebrates 40 years of cutting the sod at the Common-Riding this year; and Golden Jubilee Cornet Brian Patterson, who said: “I am as proud tonight of being Cornet as I was 50 years ago.”

With everyone well fed by the staff from Brydon’s, and well watered by the High Level, it was another occasion to savour.

Full report and more pictures in the paper.