Cornet Euan Reilly will have townsfolk with him every step of the way on a fantastic journey this Common-Riding – so said Provost Stuart Marshall when proposing the toast to Hawick’s man of the moment at Wednesday night’s congratulatory smoker.
That journey may only be in its early stages, but the rapturous welcome for the Cornet, which almost lifted the roof off the town hall, and the sheer joy etched across his face throughout a first class evening, showed just how popular the 23-year-old is among supporters, and also gave a clear indication of what such adulation meant to the man himself.
The provost told the 170-strong company that judging by the vast amount of people on the streets that night to witness his election, Euan had already won the hearts and affections of all Teries.
The grey auld toon was fortunate that fine young men wanted to come forward and accept such high office, and by doing so they ensured the continuity of the long line of Cornets.
Mr Marshall continued: “Tonight, gentlemen, in the case of Mr Euan Reilly, we have a man recommended to us all by his Right and Left. A man who has followed his Cornets faithfully down through the long years. A man who is indeed a proud Mosstrooper, but, more importantly, someone who obviously cares deeply about our customs and traditions.
“Cornet, when you unfurl that Teri Odin flag it will be the beginning of a fantastic journey. And when you set out on our behalf to retrace the steps of gallant Teries over centuries of time, you will indeed be honouring ‘The young and brave, whose deeds of dash and daring gave, to dear auld Hawick a name’.
“Cornet, no matter what the weather, be it wet or be it fine, please be assured that the townsfolk of Hawick will be with you every step of the way.”
In his reply, Cornet Reilly, who had just received his badge of office from the provost, said: “What an honour it is to be standing here tonight as Cornet for 2016.
“Also, gentleman, I will never forget the reception you gave me walking in here tonight, and the hairs on the back of my neck have just sat back down.
“Provost Marshall, thank you for giving me my badge of office, which I will wear with great pride and cherish for the rest of my life.”
Paying a warm tribute to his Right and Left-hand Men, Gregor Hepburn and Ross Gibson, Euan continued: “A big thanks to Gregor and Ross for putting their faith in me to keep the high standards going that have been set before. I think you’ll all agree, gentlemen, that if I do half as good a job as them, we’ll be doing alright.”
He also thanked Acting Father and Mother, Stuart, left, and Caja Sharkey, for their support so far, and said he was gearing up for the best six weeks of his life.
He added: “I hope I do the townsfolk of Hawick proud, that I carry out my duties to a very high standard, and that everyone has a tremendous Common-Riding.”
A high quality line-up of entertainers comprised official Common-Riding song-singer Michael Aitken, ex-Acting Fathers Henry Douglas and Kenny McCartney, Iain ‘Scocha’ Scott, Iain ‘Hightower’ Scott, Graeme Tinlin, the Drums and Fifes, Graham Hogg, ex-Cornets Chris Ritson and Ian Nichol, Keith ‘Chugger’ Brown, Cammy Rudkin and Ronnie Tait. The pianist was Ian Landles.
The evening ended in traditional fashion with the rendering of Teribus with 17 “Cornets Up”.