Braw Lad Mania 'surprises' Laird of Gala
THE Laird of Gala revealed Ryan Mania is the first professional jockey to be appointed Braw Lad in his 40 year involvement with the Gathering.
The pair met during the official visit to Old Gala House, following the Old Town Cross ceremony, on Saturday.
John Scott revealed he shared a joke and refreshments with this year's Principals - and then heaped praise on them.
His family were among the founding members of the Braw Lads' Gathering 82 years ago and it remains largely unchanged to this day.
John Scott, Laird of Gala, said: "I thought this year's Braw Lad and Lass were fantastic. It's the first time in my experience that we've had a professional jockey as Braw Lad, so I asked him how many times he had fallen off.
"He is a very interesting fellow. He also surprised me because his surname is Mania and I assumed that was Italian, but it is in fact Polish. His grandfather came over here just before the Second World War and, like a lot of the population in Galashiels, decided not to go back to Poland.
"And I remember those families so well because they were all at the Catholic Church and the Catholic school.
"And it's fantastic to see how they participated in this very ancient ceremony and it was my great pleasure to meet him."
This article appeared in Border Telegraph 09 Jul 12
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