As the Deputy Mayor of Hexham I am used to receiving invitations to various events and, due to the Mayor being unavailable for a few months because of an illness in his family, I was more than happy to step in to help organise the visit of the civic party and guests from Hawick for the remembrance and reconciliation service to mark the 500th anniversary of the capture of the Prior of Hexham’s standard by the young men of Hawick at Hexham Abbey.
One thing lead to another and after later also accepting, and attending, an invitation to the unveiling of the Hornsole memorial I was later blessed to be asked to attend for two days the Colour Bussing including, the Chase, the Hut and the Mair.
I have since been back for my birthday weekend and most recently I attended the 1514-2014 commemorative dinner, which although a new event, was a very fitting end to this year’s special celebrations. Because of my recent experiences I feel I have to put down in words the special bond of friendship that I now feel exists between myself, your provost and many other Hawick residents.
I walked in to the pre-drinks reception at the commemorative dinner with my good lady Philippa, my brother Colin and his wife Christine. The welcome I received from so many people was very special to us and among those who made us feel so at home were Provost Stuart Marshall and his wife Doreen, Iain Scott, Acting Father and Mother Alan and Jane Gray, Marion and Gordon Short, Helen and Brian, Big Mick Robertson, Cornet Ross Gibson, Right and Left-Hand Men Chris Gibson and Ross Nichol, Cornet’s Lass Michelle Paxton and the Lasses, former Blaydon resident Danny, Caroline Wilkinson and her husband John, and last but certainly not least the legends that are Henry Douglas and John Hope. I could go on forever and I apologise profusely for those I have not named.
The singing and speeches were, as usual, excellent and I found it an honour to be able to speak to Sir Chay Blyth. The point I am trying to make is that on all my visits to Hawick I have never failed to be made extremely welcome by every single person I have met, whether it be the landlord at the Mayfield, the hotel staff where we stayed or anyone in the street.
I believe the passion and civic pride I have seen from the folk of Hawick is unmatched in my memory. I hope that we managed to provide a good day for the 200-plus people who travelled to Hexham for the service at our abbey. I truly feel that our two towns have made a definite connection and I sincerely hope that this bond can continue and be built on in future years. I know that in your Provost, Stuart Marshall, and all those who give up so much of their time to organise all these events culminating in last Saturday’s commemorative dinner, you have beyond doubt an amazing bunch of people.
I shall never forget the raw emotion in the Hut or the sight of the Big Four galloping up the Chase (how I wish I had taken riding lessons), the surreal moment when I travelled in a stretched limo through your town or the service at our own abbey.
“There’s nae toon amang them a’ – Can wi your toon compare” (spot the slight change).
Councillor Trevor Cessford, Hexham Deputy Mayor