ROSS Nichol is the natural choice to lead this year’s Common-Riding celebrations.
That was the view of Provost Ron Smith as he delivered the first toast to the Cornet of 2012 at the Common-Riding Committee’s congratulatory smoker on Wednesday night.
Reviewing his credentials in front of around 180 supporters – including family, friends, ex-Cornets and ex-Acting Fathers – Mr Smith exclaimed that there was nobody better to uphold the traditions of the town than 22-year-old Ross.
He said: “Our Cornet is a symbol of the safeguarding of our traditions. Of drawing our community together.
“Ross comes of excellent pedigree. His father was blessed to have me as a follower when he was Cornet in 1984. Cousins and uncles have served in bands, on committees, on horseback and on foot. The Common-Riding is in Ross’ DNA.
“However, there’s always debate as to nature versus nurture. Nature must have began the process of preparing Ross for his appointment as Cornet but nurture has also played a major part. Ross has the great misfortune to live up Leaburn Drive. Every day for years he had to run the gauntlet past ex-provost Tom Hogg, ex-Cornet Rory Culton, ex-Cornet Greg Easton, my good self and that spiritual advisor to many Common-Ridings, the Reverend Lindsay Thomson.
“As a printer within Richardsons he has also been exposed to ex-Cornet Jamie Richardson and ex-Acting Father Murray Richardson. What chance has the man had.
“Let’s throw all that evidence together: nature, nurture, upbringing, environment. Ross you were born into the Common-Riding environment. You were brought up in the Common-Riding environment and this is now your time.”
With the cheers of townsfolk still ringing in his ears, this year’s man-of-the-moment was welcomed into the town hall to the unmistakeable strains of the Fifes and Drums and rapturous applause.
He may even have ducked slightly as he entered as at that moment he was no doubt walking ten feet tall.
And if Mr Smith believed he was born into his new appointment, Ross admitted it was a dream he had harboured all his life.
After receiving his Cornet’s Badge, he said: “This has been a lifelong ambition of mine and I am truly humbled to receive this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“This is going to be the best six weeks of my life and I can’t wait to kick on and hopefully do you, the townsfolk and Hawick proud, carrying out the high standards that have been set before.”
Along with Acting Father Iain Huggan, Ross will be assisted over the next six weeks by his Right and Left Hand Men, Michael Davidson and Greg Easton.
And according to ex-Cornet Jamie Richardson, they are both in very safe hands. In his toast to the Right and Left, he said: “You have excellent support behind you. With the help of your Lasses and ex-Cornet Davidson and ex-Cornet Easton I’m sure you will make 2012 the best of a’.”
Presided over by committee chairman Stuart Marshall, the singing and entertainment was of the highest order and complemented the high standard of speakers. They included official song-singer Michael Aitken, Henry Douglas, Ronnie Nichol, Craig Rodgerson, Liam Berridge, Graeme Tinlin, the Fifes and Drums, John Scott, Billy Young, Keith ‘Chugger’ Brown, Phil Murray and Ian Scott, with Ian Landles accompanying on piano.