Golden memories of Silver Jubilee

Silver Jubilee Cornet David Nuttall and family
Silver Jubilee Cornet David Nuttall and family

JUST over 25 years ago, David Nuttall was wandering around in a state of trepidation.

His dream of becoming Hawick Cornet was a reality.

Steeped in the Common-Riding traditions, he had attended various annual events from as far back as he could remember.

Even before following Cornet Philip Murray in 1972 it was a role he wanted to fulfil, a position his own father, the late Joseph Nuttall, had occupied back in 1958.

He was eager to follow in his father’s footsteps, but at the same time, nervous about the huge honour bestowed upon him.

This year’s Silver Jubilee Cornet told the Hawick News: “It was a very strange feeling to be asked to be Cornet. You’re always hopeful of being picked and you hear your name being mentioned. But when somebody actually comes and knocks on your door it’s a big shock. I felt as if I was going to fall through the floor.

“The weeks leading up to the Common-Riding were full of trepidation about what was going to happen, and if we would live up to the expectations of previous Cornets and the townsfolk of Hawick.”

But David and his Lass Gael – now his lovely wife – need not have worried.

As the Hawick News reported at the time: “In Cornet David Nuttall, Hawick had a young ambassador who balanced youthful enthusiasm with a due sense of dignified responsibility in the discharge of his duties. His closest associates agree that he didn’t obtrude self: he modestly carried his high office: his speeches were brief but always appropriate to the occasion and even through the preliminary series of ride-out soakings, his good humour and ready smile always carried the day.”

Twenty-five years on, he recalls the many friendships made, by himself and Gael, and their Acting Father and Mother Bert and Jessie Wear as the memories come flooding back, with the help of photographs, videos and a special DVD from the year compiled by the Camera Club.

“We had a tremendous team. Among the eight of us there was never an angry word. We all got on superbly,” said the 48-year-old. “Everything was so well organised and we were look after so well. All we had to do was enjoy ourselves.

“We made a lot of friends. People that we would never have met if we hadn’t been in the Common-Riding, a lot of friends outwith Hawick as well.

“We had the time of our lives and enjoyed every minute. It was a great experience with feelings you would never be able to repeat.” And the couple’s involvement in the Common-Riding continues. While David still follows, Gael is currently secretary of the Ex-Cornet’s Lasses and Ex-Acting Mothers’ Association.

David added: “Gael’s family weren’t huge Common-Riding people but they gave us an enormous amount of support and she really enjoyed everything. She has enjoyed the Common-Riding ever since and has built up an interest which is really great.”

Boss of local knitwear firm, William Lockie, David has been presented with an ornamental replica of the Horse monument and silver cuff links by Irene McRobert and Cornet Michael Davidson on behalf of the workforce.