This is it, exclaims Cornet Nichol

Cornet Ross Nichol and his Lass Gillian Smith
Cornet Ross Nichol and his Lass Gillian Smith

THE unmistakeable sound of the Fifes and Drums at the start of May can mean only one thing. And for Ross Nichol on Wednesday night it was a moment he had dreamt of since he was a boy as he was announced as this year’s Cornet.

The 22-year-old will follow in the footsteps of a long line of proud Hawick men – which incudes his father Ian – in taking charge of the Banner Blue for this year’s celebrations.

However, he revealed his appointment was greeted with mixed emotions as he initially feared he was about to be fired from his job with Richardson and Son, Printers.

He told the Hawick News: “I was actually out for the night back in January and my dad phoned me and told me to come home. Jamie [Richardson] was there and I work with him so I thought I was getting the sack.

“He asked me if I was ever asked to be Cornet, what would I say? Obviously I said I would love to and he said he would go away and talk to Michael [Davidson] and Greg [Easton].

“About half-an-hour later there was a knock on the door, Michael came in and he officially asked me if I wanted to be Cornet. I can’t explain the feeling and to be honest it’s still sinking in now. I’m still in shock.”

Hawick’s worst-kept secret was finally official on Wednesday night as hundreds of townsfolk, including scores of youngsters, made their way to Bailleul Grove to welcome their new man-of-the-moment, who will lead this year’s Common-Riding along with his Lass Gillian Smith and Acting Father and Mother, Iain and Andrea Huggan.

Halberdier Eck Barclay handed over the notifiation letter from the Provost’s Council at his doorstep and, with the house full of well-wishers and supporters, another year was under way. And his customary walk to the town hall for the congratulatory smoker proved he will be as popular a Cornet as ever.

He said: “I was really nervous to begin with on Wednesday but hearing the Fifes and Drums coming round the corner was just everything and more than I thought it would be. It was something else.

“This is it. It’s starting to sink in now.”