WHEN you've ridden round the Marches 17 times you'd be expected to be an old hand at it.

But in six weeks time Gavin Henderson will spend the most nervous three hours in the saddle.

The 26-year-old was unveiled on Friday night as Selkirk Standard Bearer 2012 to unrivalled cheers in the town's ancient Market Place.

Ever since being named as the youngest rider back in 1990 as a four-year-old, when he followed Standard Bearer John Wilson round the town's boundaries, he has dreamed of his day with the Burgh Flag.

The Forestry contractor told the Border Telegraph: "I'm trying not to be nervous but it's difficult. In many ways I can't wait. Keeping my appointment a secret was really difficult as I wanted to tell everyone I knew.

"Friday night was great. It had poured with rain for the two days before but thankfully the weather was okay and the crowds came out in force."

Gavin was carried shoulder high around the High Street, Back Row and Kirk Wynd. Cheers mingled with words of support from the huge crowd.

Amongst the thousands who lined Selkirk's narrow streets to welcome their Standard Bearer was parents, Elliot and Dorothy. Dorothy told us: "I'm extremely proud of Gavin and I'm sure he will carry out his duties well. It will be a very special day for all of the family."

Standard bearer Henderson has served his apprenticeship well - riding as Attendant to Gary Guthrie in 2003, Colin Squance in 2004, Douglas Gunn in 2010 and Michael Craig last year.

By his side this year will be Attendants are Martin Rogerson, Peter Forrest, Andrew Shaw and Chris Saunders.

Although Selkirk's big day is six weeks away, Standard Bearer Henderson's civic duties begin on Friday by showing his support for fellow principals in Lauder and Hawick.

Gavin added: "I will be busy every weekend up until August. It will a really exciting summer."