Robes resplendent once again

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The Provost and Bailies’ red robes have been fixed and mended ahead of this year’s special Common-Riding celebrations.

A long list of repairs have been carried out on the Provost Council’s ceremonial robes in a bid to ensure that the fur-tipped gowns not only look their best for 2014, but for years to come. And with the work being funded by Hawick Callants Club, the project has maintained a special connection between the two which has endured over 100 years.

Outlining the prominent role which the Callants Club has played in civic life since its formation in 1904, president Derick Tait explained: “In 1906 the Callants Club organised a public subscription in order to buy a chain and robe for the provost, and then in 1964 they paid to have the robe replaced, so there has always been a connection between us and the Provost Council.”

In 1976 the Callants Club was instrumental in drawing up a constitution for the newly formed Honorary Provost Council after the reorganisation of local government. Many towns disbanded the role of their provost and regalia – but Hawick fought vigorously to preserve the tradition.

And in 1979 the club presented a new chain for use by the honorary provost following the loss of the original, which is still in use today.

However, the robes have shown signs of deterioration in recent years, which was the catalyst that prompted the Provost Council to take action – and with the help and skill of staff at Border Brides, the robes are now resplendent.

Provost Stuart Marshall told the Hawick News: “During the winter months these robes have been placed under the care of Margaret [Thorburn] and Sandra [Peffers] who have spent many hours taking them apart, rehemming, stitching, renewing fasteners, mending pockets, attaching tails that have come loose; you name it, they have managed to sort it. What they have achieved is truly remarkable.”

At a cost of almost £1,000, the robes have been dilligently repaired and restored, and Lynne Cook, owner of Border Brides, says they were thrilled to help. “It’s been a privilege to be asked to refurbish the robes, which will now be able to be worn for generations to come,” she said. “It’s down to the skill and hard work of Margaret and Sandra who are extremely good at their job. It was very different from altering wedding dresses!”

Provost Marshall added: I am delighted that the Callants Club came forward to meet the cost of these repairs and by doing so have given them a new lease of life. This has been a very worthwhile exercise by the Provost Council.”

Derick Tait, president of the Callants Club, added: “It was important for us to carry on the tradition and maintain a strong relationship with the Provost Council. It bonds the knot a wee bit tighter.”