Malcolm’s ‘great challenge’ as this year’s chief guest

Hawick Common-Riding chief guest Malcolm Murray
Hawick Common-Riding chief guest Malcolm Murray

MALCOLM Murray has been president of the Callants Club, has been a Mosstrooper for almost 40 years and followed Cornet Steven Irvine on Common-Riding Friday in 1997.

But 2011 promises to eclipse them all as he takes his place as this year’s principal guest.

The announcement was made at last Friday night’s Callants Club dinner.

And the former high school pupil, who was awarded a CBE in 1995, admitted it came as a complete surprise.

The 73-year-old said: “It was a most unexpected honour to be approached to be the principal guest at this year’s Hawick Common Riding.

“Having lived and worked outside Hawick since I left school I have, nevertheless, retained a keen interest in the town and tried my best to contribute to maintaining its unique culture and heritage.”

On leaving school, Mr Murray joined the Scottish Life Assurance Company in Edinburgh as an actuarial student and qualified in 1961. After a number of promoted posts he became chief executive and director in 1988, retiring from there at the beginning of 1999. During that period he served as president of the Insurance Society of Edinburgh and also president of the Faculty of Actuaries.

A passionate rugby supporter, Mr Murray played for the South schoolboys and starred in the first ever match between Hawick Trades and Glynneath. He was a member of the SRU Executive Board from 1996-2000 and was president at Hawick RFC from 2002-04.

Also a keen golfer, he is a member of Hawick Golf Club and was captain of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers (Muirfield) from 2007-09.

However, he revealed there were a few nerves after his latest appointment. He added: “I am somewhat overawed to be added to the list of distinguished predecessors who have filled this role of principal guest and it will be a great challenge to try to emulate the high standards that have been set in the past.

“However, the demands of the duties will be more than matched by the opportunities they will give to my wife, Muriel, and myself to participate at close quarters with all the important events of that June weekend.”