Silver Jubilee Cornet’s lifelong memories

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There are moments in time that always remain with you. Moments that are lodged in your mind forever.

Stuart Farish has a barrowload of these moments etched in his mind.

Mainly of a period of time that began on a warm, sun-kissed evening in early May and drifted into June.

A period of time during which Stuart was Hawick Cornet, and a period of time that Stuart has never forgotten.

For wearing the green jacket, carrying the Banner Blue and his many duties involved in the historical role of being Hawick Cornet meant the world to Stuart, and still does.

The Hawick News has taken a look back at this Common-Riding of a quarter-of-a-century ago, in sharing the memories of Stuart and his Lass Linda Falconer, who was later to become his wife, and this golden chapter in their lives.Talking firstly of his very early involvement with the Common-Riding, Stuart told us: “I was brought up with the Common-Riding, as my father Billy was a great Common-Riding man, and I was lucky enough to have had a pony from a very early age.

“Really, I had a pony before I knew I had a pony because I was so young.

“The first time I followed the Cornet was in 1971 when Drew Martin was the Cornet, and apart from the year of the foot-and-mouth during which there was no Common-Riding, I’ve followed ever since.”

Stuart continued: “When I was a little boy I had dreams of being the Cornet. However, as I got older I began to think that this might not happen.

“Thankfully it did, though, and being Hawick Cornet has been one of the biggest thrills of my life.”

Stuart well remembers his introduction as Cornet on Picking Night. Of how, along with Linda and a full household made up of former Cornets, family and close friends in his Crowbyres home, everyone waited to hear the sound of the Drums and Fife band playing outside.

Of how he answered a knock at the door and was handed an official invitation from the Provost Council by a Halberdier inviting him to be Hawick Cornet.

And how a whirlwind few weeks had just began.

Taking up the story, Stuart went on: “I remember everything as if it was yesterday and I have some great memories.

“Elliot Turnbull and David Nuttall were my Right and Left-Hand Men, and Ivan Young my Acting Father.

“All of them were brilliant and I got tremendous support from them. We all got on really well and there was always a great bond between us.

“One memory I have in particular, though, was when handing the Flag to Ivan and seeing the big grin on his face.

“In fact it was the biggest smile I’ve ever seen, as holding the Flag meant such a lot to him.”

The build-up to the Common-Riding went in rapidly, and recalling this, Linda said: “Time went in so quickly, simply because you were so busy. For apart from the ride-outs, you had something on almost every night at social functions at all sorts of places such as Wilton Dean hall.

“You never got tired of this, though, as you were made welcome wherever you went. It was a bit hectic but it was always enjoyable going to all these different places.”

The ride-outs were blessed with great weather, as was the Common-Riding itself, and commenting on this, Stuart said: “I can’t remember getting wet at a ride-out, and there was brilliant sunshine for the Common-Riding.”

There was indeed rays of sunshine cast from all directions for Stuart and Linda’s involvement in Hawick’s historical occasion.

Stuart is well aware of these times. “There were many, many highlights from the start to the finish, and the list is endless,” he said.

“Taking charge of the Banner Blue, the Chase, the Hut, and tying the ribbons on the Horse Monument, being just just a few.

“Another great highlight was the Colour-Bussing, as I was so proud to see Linda Bussing the Colours. It was just great to watch.”

Linda has many fond memories as well. “Something I found really nice during Common-Riding week was visiting the hospitals, care homes and the schools.

“The old folk in the homes were just thrilled to get a visit from the Cornet, and this was humbling to see because this was their Common-Riding.

“It was great at the schools as well. All the little girls were dressed up for the Cornet coming, and the excitement was just brilliant.”

However, the Colour-Bussing brought about Linda’s biggest thrill.

“It was something very special for me,” she said. “It was such an honour and privilege to Buss the Colours.

“Myra Turnbull was the provost, and it was the first time that there had been a lady provost at the Colour-Bussing, so this made things even more special.”

Stuart cannot believe that 25 years have passed since his Picking Night, to the heart-wrenching job of returning the Flag to the town hall.

Summing everthing up, Hawick’s Jubilee Cornet said: “I just don’t know where the years have gone.

“What I do know, however, is that being Hawick Cornet 25 years ago was a rollercoaster ride for me, and something that I’m so proud and honoured to have been able to do.”