Meet the Principals

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THE newly-elected Cornet for 2011, Michael Davidson, says he has already been humbled by the reception he has received from Teries.

The thrilled 25-year old has spoken of his immense pride at being chosen to fulfill a lifelong ambition, and he told the Hawick News: “It is a huge honour to be Cornet.”

And only hours into the prestigious role, he revealed: “The support from the townsfolk even at this early stage is something special and very much appreciated.”

Delighted at not only being able to follow in a long line of illustrious Cornets that have gone before him, the new incumbent is also able to indulge in his great love of both horses and the Common-Riding.

After leaving Hawick High, Michael had started a joinery apprenticeship with John Rae, but a year later he decided to follow his heart and took up a post with Greystoke trainer Nicky Richards, where he was lucky enough to look after Scottish Champion Hurdler Noble Alan and Grade One chaser Money Trix amongst others.

A young Michael followed his first Cornet in 1993 when Rory Culton was the man of the moment, and has been an ardent follower in Hawick, and other towns, ever since. His mount for this year’s Common-Riding is 17.2 hh dark bay gelding Storm. The 16-year-old is also no stranger to the town’s beloved celebrations – and has even carried the Langholm flag.

The only son of Mick and Elaine Davidson, and brother to 20-year-old sister Linzi, who is currently studing property development and valuation at Napier University, Michael only returned to Hawick at the start of this year and is currently working for Selkirk company Eclipse Tree Surgery.

Not surprisingly his main interest is horse racing and during his time working in the sport he experienced all the large meetings including Cheltenham, Aintree and Leopardstown. As a keen rugby player as well he has previously captained Hawick Wanderers, and also played with Hawick Trades and Hawick Harlequins. He also represented the Borders at various age groups. But as a Tottehnham Hotspur FC fan as well, he even travelled to Wembley to watch them win the Carling Cup several years ago.

Michael says amongst the many highlights that now lie in front of him, he cannot wait to carry the Banner Blue. And already highlighting the bond amongst the Big Four, he added: “It makes the job a lot easier with all the support I am receiving, especially from my Right and Left and Acting Father.”

Such support will also be shared by Cornet’s Lass Kirsteen Hill, who is thrilled to be able to accompany Michael through his special year. She is the eldest daughter of Grant Hill and Dawn Robson who live in Alemoor Court, and a big sister to 16-year-old high school pupil Rachael. Currently a receptionist/secretary at Bannermanburke, the 23-year-old is a regular at the Teviotdale Leisure Centre gym and enjoys walking and socialising with friends. The former Drumlanrig and high school pupil says she is extremely honoured to be given such a prestigious role and, as a proud Teri, can’t wait to see Michael carrying the Flag on his horse.

Also relishing the chance to have been given such a special opportunity are the Cornet’s Acting Father and Mother, Grahame and Wendy Nichol. The Roberton Place couple are immersed in the world of horses with both sons Ryan, 19, and Craig, 17, amateur National Hunt jockeys, working for local trainer Donald Whillans and Kinross-based Lucinda Russell respectively.

Grahame himself worked in the racing industry for over 20 years, but is now a self-employed drystane dyker. A member of the Mosstroopers committee, his main passion is jumps racing but he enjoys most sports. And for Acting Mother Wendy, a psychiatric nurse, her first passion is also horses. She enjoys nothing better than following her sons on the point-to-point circuit, and in the past had her own success in the showjumping arena.

Describing the moment their lives changed, Acting Father Grahame says he walked into his living room on a Saturday night in January to find Greg and Jamie “smiling like cheshire cats”. “My first reaction was to walk back out,” he admitted. “However, I returned and found myself a seat quickly as my legs lost the ability to hold me up!”

After the arrival of the Cornet Elect and being asked the all-important question, Grahame revealed: “I took no time in my reply and it’s something I’ll never forget. In 20 minutes my life had taken a turn I can only describe as mindblowing.”

He added: “There is nothing that anyone has ever given me that comes close to the honour that he has given me. We are both thrilled.”

Indeed, Cornet Davidson says he can’t wait to lead townsfolk in the weeks that lie ahead.

He added: “I’m sure I speak on behalf of the Big Eight in saying it’s going be another great year.”