TWEEDBANK celebrated the start of a summer of festivities at the weekend.

However, the Border Telegraph can reveal there have been a number of changes to the programme this year.

Primary seven pupils Reece Smith and Alex Bell were unveiled as the 2012 Tweedbank Lad and Lass during a colourful ceremony in the community centre on Friday night.

They will lead this year's gala week which begins with the Investiture Night on Tuesday, May 29, and culminates with the Fair day on Saturday, June 2.

And they will be supported by their Attendants - Ciaran McLaren (Lad's First Attendant), Jordan Turnball (Lad's Second Attendant), Jayden McAllan (Lass's First Attendant) and Maisie Kidd (Lass's Second Attendant).

Donald Forbes, chairman of Tweedbank Fair committee, confirmed the Gala Week has been shortened this year from eight days to five. But he insisted it still included all the fun of the Fair, including the fancy dress and grand fruit and flower parade, and pointed out he hoped the community would continue to turn out at events to show their support.

Donald, who celebrates 20 years on the Fair committee next year, said: "Every year we worry about whether the kids will be up for putting themselves forward for it because some of them find it quite nerve-wracking - they are only in primary seven at the end of the day. But, this year, I think we have had 14 pupils apply for the roles of Lad and Lass which is great."

And he added: "As long as we continue to get that kind of support, Tweedbank Fair will keep going."

Dozens of well-wishers turned out to celebrate the launch of the event this year with a disco in the community centre - including every primary seven pupil in the village and their headteacher.

A full programme of events will be posted to every home in Tweedbank over the coming weeks.

Mr Forbes said: "There's a significant change this year whereby we have shortened the week back to its original format. Back in 2000, we decided to make it a full week to mark the millennium and it was such a success we kept it going, so it started one Saturday and finished the following Saturday.

"But it's a lot to ask people to come out every day for eight days so this year we will start with the Investiture Night on the Tuesday, which has always been a special night for the Principals because its when the Braw Lad and Lass visit."

Mr Forbes, who is due to retire next year, admitted there had been some doubts over the future of the Fair after membership of the committee dwindled, leaving just six volunteers to organise the gala week.

But, following an appeal to local parents, five new members came forward. And the committee, which is always on the lookout for more volunteers, is hoping more will join them.

Mr Forbes said: "Last year at this time there were only six or seven of us left on the committee and we felt that we needed parents of the current primary school pupils of Tweedbank to get involved. When we started our kids were in primary school and now they are at university or married or whatever.

"At every event this year we are asking people to think about coming forward to help.

"Tweedbank is complete now in terms of housing building but there are still people who are not aware of the Fair and what it involves. The five new volunteers that joined us in September are all here tonight and they think it's great. One mum who has recently moved to the area revealed she thought it was amazing the way the Fair brings the whole community together."

For a full programme of events, pick up a copy of this week's Border Telegraph.