Big Return will be ‘poignant moment for all’

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Preparations for the final Vision 2014 event, entitled the Big Return, have evoked special memories for former Acting Father Gordon Jackson.

In less than two weeks’ time, the Battle of Hornshole is due to be reenacted by school children as part of a special day that will not only mark the finale of the four-year Vison 2014 project – but also see the youngsters take part in a unique procession ahead of the unveiling of the new commemorative statue at Tower Knowe.

But for retired ambulance technician Mr Jackson, May 15 will strengthen a special bond with the site which began 50 years ago when he lent his voice to a film entitled ‘Sons of Heroes’ – and which has now come full circle with his involvement with the Big Return. As a former carpenter, he has used his skills to create replica weaponry comprising 16 swords and daggers to be used in the battle, and he says he is thrilled to involved.

“When I was 12 years old I was asked by Hawick Cinemagraphic Club, under the leadership of the late Dennis Park, to do the voiceover to a film in which I was the voice of a wee boy tending to his sheep 500 years ago who stumbled across the English camp and alerted his mother and brother to the attack. And now 50 years later I think I must be the only person to be able to also be a part of this special event as well, which is fantastic.”

Part of that involvement has also included Mr Jackson meeting with the young lads at the high school who will be involved in the Big Return, and he said he tried to help them think about the emotions that would have been felt by those back in 1514.

“When I explained that one day they would realise what an important event it was, and they could be standing where I was explaining it, they seemed captivated.”

He added: “I’m delighted to be part of this epic adventure again. The Big Return will be a poignant moment for all the boys involved and something they can share with our future youngsters 50 years from now.”

Local historian Ian Landels has also been involved in preparations for the Big Return, and during rehearsals was interviewed by ITV for Border Life which will air ahead of the event on Monday, May 12, at 8pm.