Something in the air above Hawick changed this morning as Teries arose to begin celebrating a weekend in the calendar which has been 500 years in the making.
Since dawn broke, that familiar feeling of pride and excitement has begun to fill Teri hearts, with townsfolk flocking to the Vertish Hill for the Thursday Morning Chase, and the west end resonating with the clatter of hooves, and those cherished sounds of song and speech. But this year more than any other, it all mingles in with an even larger sense of Hawick’s history and heritage, and now, more than ever, Teries will exalt and honour its name.
In Cornet Ross Gibson, the town has watched a dignfied Cornet serve a hugely successful apprenticeship, and his ever-present smile is set to get a lot wider this weekend when he realises a life-long ambition.
An elated Cornet told the Hawick News: “I have to admit I can’t sleep because everything is running through my mind all the time. I can’t wait for the best few days of my life.”
The 24-year-old, who proudly carried the unbussed Flag for the first time this morning, added: “Getting my hands on the Banner Blue is something I’ve thought about since I was boy, but there is so much ahead of me I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel. The Huts will be amazing and just to see everyone, I really will have to try and take in every minute.”
And these feelings are shared by an equally-excited Acting Father Alan Gray, who said: “Having the Flag in my hands is something I have wanted forever, so doing that is one thing that is definitely at the forefront of my mind. But I cannot wait to see Ross with the Flag. There is so much to savour, it is impossible to describe how I feel.”
Cornet’s Lass Michelle Paxton, who will take centre stage in the town hall tonight, is also gripped by Common-Riding fever, stating: “I am so excited for everything. I am really excited for the Colour-Bussing and the schools visit, and I can’t wait to see Ross with the Flag.”
And no-one more than Common-Riding Committee chairman Stuart Marshall is more pleased with the efforts of the Big Eight, as the town prepares to celebrate the unique quincentenary anniversary. “Cornet Gibson and the rest of the big eight are doing a magnificent job and it’s great to see everyone rallying roond to support them,” he said. “This weekend our town will provide a stunning spectacle that will unite Teries from all over the world, and I personally can’t wait.
“I hope everyone has a great time.”
Indeed, with a special weekend ahead which holds so much promise and so many favourites, Cornet Gibson commented: “I wish everyone a great Common-Riding.”
Acting Father Gray commented: “The next few days are going to be incredible. I hope the sun shines and everyone has a great Common-Riding.”
St Leonards Hut has been fit to bursting, the Moor has been transformed into the magical spot once again, and now the town waits for it all to begin when St Mary’s clock strikes 6pm tonight.