Exiles in ticket clamour

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HAWICK Common-Riding Committee has been “swamped” by the high numbers of exiles returning to Hawick for the historic 2014 celebrations.

Pre-Common-Riding plans are gathering pace and excitement is already building at an unparalleled early stage. And so too is the level of interest in ticketed events for the quincentenary.

But Hawick residents have been assured that the huge level of attention from further afield will not affect their entry into the much-loved Colour-Bussing, Huts, or the Dinner and Ball – with a decision being taken to allocate the exact same numbers to exiles as has been done in the past.

Frank Scott, Common-Riding Committee treasurer, told the Hawick News: “This time last year I had five applications for tickets from exiles, and at the moment I already have 117, we’re swamped. There is unprecedented interest and numbers returning to the town for this year’s celebrations. But the committee has decided to take the average number who normally apply and ballot those tickets. That way it’s fair, and the public will get the exact same.”

And this is despite several large groups already being booked up to witness the 500th anniversary of Hornshole, including 19 people from Canada, 10 from America and a large crowd from Australia. However, it is the committee’s intention that every visitor will be able to attend the Exiles’ Reception. Mr Scott commented: “The main hall can take 220 people, but I have to allow for the 22 Maids of Honour and Principals. But use of the town hall gallery is under consideration.”

Common-Riding Committee chairman Stuart Marshall added: “It looks as if demand has outstripped supply already, and as usual the Colour-Bussing ticket applications will be dealt with by ward representatives and by usual public ballot. It is our intention to do the same with exile applications for the Hut, as they too have well exceeded demand and are still coming in.”

Mr Scott added: “Any exiles who plan to return and have not already been in touch should do so as soon as possible.”