IT is regarded as one of the best-kept secrets in the Borders.

But on Friday, Fraser Hastie was unveiled as the 2015 Kelso Laddie.

He was paraded in the town’s Square in front of crowds of well-wishers who turned out to show their support before being presented with his sash of office by Provost John Bassett.

The 22-year-old former Broomlands Primary and Kelso High School pupil, who works at Lloyd Land Rover in Kelso, follows in the footsteps of his father, Neil Hastie, and Great Uncle, Arthur Hastie, who were Kelso Laddie in 1981 and 1959, respectively.

Fraser will lead Kelso Civic Week - a week-long programme of events to celebrate the history of the town - from July 11 to 18, as well as representing the town at other neighbouring festivals and Common Ridings.

He will be supported by his Right Hand Man Ross Henderson, Kelso Laddie in 2014, and Left Hand Man Calum Thomson, Kelso Laddie in 2013.

Also introduced this week were the Lady Bussers - Leigh Anderson and Emily Scott, from Edenside Primary School; and Rhianne Dagg and Mia Wight, from Broomlands Primary School - who will buss the Burgh Standard during the midweek ceremony.

Looking forward to the summer, Fraser said: “I’m immensely honoured to be elected to this position and therefore I will do my best to carry out my duties to the best of my abilities and maintain the same high standards set by my predecessors.” And he added: “With everyone’s support, I’m sure it’s going to be a year that I’ll never forget.” The keen horserider, who has followed the festivities all his life, revealed he had always dreamt of being Kelso Laddie - but then admitted nothing could prepare him for the moment he was asked.

When asked how he felt, Fraser, in his first interview following his appointment, told the Border Telegraph: “A bit overwhelmed but it’s been good. It’s been a wee while I’ve known so I’m glad to finally get here and be part of it. I’ve really enjoyed it so far and I’m looking forward to the summer.

“I do follow on the horse, I’m quite a keen follower; it’s been drilled in to me from such a young age, it’s a part of me. I enjoy the riding and to be at the front I think will just be extra special this year.” This year, Kelso Civic Week takes on even greater significance as it coincides with the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli - one of the bloodiest battles in World War One - which claimed the lives of 42 men from the town.

And to commemorate the occasion, the Kelso Laddies Association has invited The Royal Scots Borderers (1 SCOTS) to take part in a ceremonial parade through the town.

“The anniversary falls on the day of our Kirking Ceremony which is on Sunday, July 12,” Scott Forbes, chairman of the Kelso Laddies Association, explained. “That was the day when 42 men from Kelso fell at Gallipoli.

“It will be a great spectacle, especially as 1 SCOTS have quite a few Kelso connections; quite a few Kelso boys are in the battalion at this time so it’s something to look forward to.” In times like these, Kelso Civic Week, and festivals like it, blessed the Borders and brought everyone closer together. And, the chairman pointed out, this year’s Laddie had been a popular choice.

Mr Forbes said: “The tapestry is quite rich with ex Laddies by the name of Hastie. He is following in his father’s footsteps, he was Kelso Laddie in 1981. and his Great Uncle was Kelso Laddie in 1959, so there is a good tradition there.

“It means everything to the town, it’s that community spirit that pulls everyone together. And in these times that we live in the Borders it’s a great social gathering throughout the summer months.” Crowds lined the sun-kissed Square to catch a first glimpse of the newly-appointed Kelso Laddie, including a number of Principals from other Borders towns.

And Kelso Pipe Band set the tone for the evening before the three Principals burst into song with a performance of Kelsae Bonnie Kelsae.

Welcoming this year’s appointment, Right Hand Man Ross Henderson said: “I’ve known Fraser a long time so he is definitely, without doubt, a good choice.

“I had an absolutely amazing summer last year, the friendships you make, the places you go to, it’s just second to none - certainly memories I will never forget.” And he added: “I’d urged him to savour every moment.” Left Hand Man Calum Thomson revealed he was looking forward to his final year in office with mixed emotions.

When asked to pick a highlight from the past two years, he said: “It has to be the installation of the Kelso Laddie here (in the Square) when you buss the flag and shout out 'fear nocht’ with the Burgh Standard, it’s something that I will never forget.” But he added: “This year is a chance to relax and take it in a bit more. My family have always been involved in Civic Week, my dad was Kelso Laddie in 1984, they are really enthusiastic about it and they can’t wait for it to start even this year.” Galashiels, Selkirk, Peebles and West Linton are all due to unveil the Principals to lead their festivals at Declaration Nights across the Borders on Friday, April 24.

The 2015 Braw Lad and Lass will be announced from the balcony of the Burgh Chambers at 8pm.

An hour earlier, at 7pm, the doors of the Town Hall in Selkirk will be flung open and the new Standard Bearer will be unveiled.