Whether it be by land, sea or air – travelling Teries from from around the globe ensured last week’s exiles’ reception was a memorable occasion.
It was a homecoming and a big one at that. Something different and something unique. An eagerly anticipated event that conjures up its own kind of magic.
These returning travellers had their very own gathering in the town hall last Wednesday night – and what a night it was for the grey auld toon.
Helping matters flow along like the dancing waters of the Slitrig was compere Oliver Angus. Taking on a role he has made his own over the past 26 years, Oliver has his own humorous style and it’s a style that works.
Provost Stuart Marshall began proceedings by welcoming exiles and one and all to the occasion. The provost then went on to say that the exiles’ reception was the flagship of the Common-Riding, before going on to talk of what had taken place in Hawick over the past year.
And during his address, he said that the town was not without its problems but also that Hawick had a lot going for it, such as the transformation of Wilton Lodge Park, including the wonderful Zandra Elliot Bandstand.
The evening’s entertainment got off to a splendid start with a medley of tunes from the excellent Saxhorn Band. And from here on, talented local perfomers Robert Scott, Bernie Armstrong, Rachel Inglis, Sally Thomas, Ian Landles and Michael Aitken all shone in gracing the stage twice as did the Saxhorn Band.
Douglas Telfer, John Tait, Iain M. Scott also starred, while Michael Aitken, Bernie Armstrong, Robert Scott and Iain Scott emerged a big hit with their performance of And We Ride from the musical Reiver’s Moon.
Pianist Anne Witherington was, as always, just superb.
Among the exiles was Ewan Hogg, from Brisbane, Australia. Son of the late Ian ‘Boomer’ Hogg, Ewan said of his return: “I left Hawick for Australia with my mother in 1983 when I was 12 years old. I have many memories of Hawick, though, such as going to Drumlanrig school and Common-Ridings. It was great when the Cornet came to the school and then you get off for the Common Riding. This was just brilliant I’ll never forget this.
“Another thing I remember is being taken for rugby by Bill McLaren. These sorts of things stay in your mind.
“I came back for the Common-Riding last year and stayed with Stuart Patterson, who was in my class at Drumlanrig school. I enjoyed my stay so much that I decided to save hard and come back again, and I’m really glad that I did as it’s been great meeting up with friends again and just seeing Hawick. It’s just wonderful to come back home.”
Also from down under was James Brady, from Mayfield, New South Wales. Accompanied by his daughter Miriam, James told the Hawick News: “I emigrated to Australia with a family of three in 1970 which was a long time ago. I was brought up in O’Connell Street and worked in a few mills in Hawick before going away.
“Although I’ve been away for years I still think a lot about my Hawick days. Since I went to Australia I’ve remarried and have a new family. My daughter Miriam is here with me and is really enjoying her stay.”
Another back home for the celebrations was David Scott, from Christchurch, New Zealand, who commented: “My family had the Temperance Hotel on the High Street and I went to Wilton school and Hawick High.
“Since then I’ve done a lot of traveling in my job as a carpet-fitter and I’m now in New Zealand. My partner Fatima has come with me for the Common-Riding. It’s her first visit to the UK, never mind the Common Riding, and she’s been having a good time.”
Also in attendance was Alex Murray, of Johannesburg, South Africa, whose parents were exiles. “I’m 70 years of age and it’s the first time I’ve been in Hawick. My father Alexander and mother Helen came from Hawick and I was brought up with stories of Hawick and the Common-Riding. It’s taken me a long time to come to Hawick and I’m very glad that I did.”
During the evening, the Cornet and his Lass received gifts from Hawick Community Council’s Cameron Knox and French Wight.
At the interval, the audience were served supper by the Maids of Honour, who were absolutely stunning in both dress and looks.
Following a well presented vote of thanks from exile Allan McVittie, from Picklescott, near Shrewsbury, the evening concluded with Teribus from the Big Four.