SELKIRK’S first Standard Bearer of 2017 was officially appointed on Friday night, when Selkirk Merchant Company elected Stuart Hogarth to cast its colours at this year’s Common Riding.
A Souter born and bred, Stuart is eminently qualified for the role and will be following in the footsteps of his father Douglas, who relinquished the post of Master at the dinner after a two-year term of office.
Stuart said: “I stand here tonight before you, a very proud man indeed, and I cannot put into sufficiently emphatic words just how deeply honoured and privileged I feel to be appointed Merchant Company Standard Bearer this year.”
Stuart joined the Company in 2010 and for a while was its youngest member.
He had hoped he might be considered for the position of Standard Bearer but never imagined it would happen so soon.
Stuart’s family are steeped in Common Riding tradition with a long list of cousins and uncles having carried flags for the Royal Burgh and for the Crafts and Associations.
Stuart’s dad, Douglas carried the Merchant’s flag in 1988 and Stuart’s mum Isabel bussed his flag.
Douglas was standing down having served for two years, with his last act as Master being to install David Heard as new Master of Selkirk Merchant Company.
David, an independent financial advisor, thanked the Company for their approval of his appointment and the tremendous honour bestowed upon himself and his wife Merle.
David was Merchant Company Standard Bearer in 2009.
The toast to the new Standard Bearer was proposed by his uncle Jock Craig.
Mr Craig said: “I am here to introduce this year’s Merchant Company Standard Bearer for 2017 – my nephew Stuart Hogarth.
"I am a little bit biased, but this year the Company has made a great choice – Stuart has a real zest for life.”
Stuart works at DS Dalgleish as After Sales Manager.
He graduated with an honours degree in Automotive Dealership Management from the Henry Ford College at Loughborough University.
Stuart is a member of the Young Souters committee, vice chairman of Selkirk Vintage Car Rally, Clerk of the Course for the Race Committee and Secretary of Selkirk Flapping Association.
The toast to ‘Selkirk Merchant Company, Town & Trade’ was proposed by Frank Scott of Hawick, who, in a characteristically witty and entertaining speech compared the Common Ridings of his beloved Hawick and the Royal Burgh holding them both dear to his heart.
He commended the Merchant Company for maintaining the ancient traditions which are so much a part of the town.
Replying to the toast, Provost Jake Wheelans said: “There are always mixed feelings when it comes to this annual function – firstly you have barely swallowed your last mouthful of haggis at the Hammermen’s Burns Supper when the letter arrives inviting you to what is really the start of the 2017 Common Riding season.
"You do feel that it can’t possibly be that time already.
"Then there is the warm anticipation of creeping out of winter’s gloom and heading towards what is undoubtedly the most popular and enjoyable period in our town’s calendar.”
He went on to congratulate Stuart on his appointment as 2017 Standard Bearer and David Heard on his appointment as Master.
He also congratulated outgoing Master Dougie Hogarth on the way he has led the Company in his time as Master.
The dinner was chaired by Selkirk Merchant Company’s new Master, David Heard, and the vote of thanks was given by company member Bruce Riddell.
Musical entertainment was provided by Hilary Bell and Jimmy Gibb.
At the AGM prior to the dinner, two new members were officially admitted to the company - Alisdaire Lockhart and Donald Francis.