Melrosian reveals representing town was thrilling experience

Published: 2 Jul 2012 09:310 comments

MELROSIAN Graeme Crawford looked back on one of the most eventful weeks of his life and admitted he was disappointed it had to come to an end.

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The 21-year-old younger son of Ian and Catherine Crawford of Newlyn Drive, Melrose, led a procession of townsfolk and visiting dignitaries on a tour of surrounding villages during the climax of the 2012 Melrose Festival - a week long programme of events to celebrate the town's history.

However, despite some last minute changes to the programme, he insisted he had enjoyed every second.

Speaking to the Border Telegraph this week, Graeme said: "The whole week has been so emotional and so much fun at the same time. The ups and downs of it have been equally good." And he added: "I'm just disappointed it's over now."

The former Melrose Grammar and Earlston High School student, who is currently studying Sports and Exercise Science at Robert Gordon's University in Aberdeen, was due to be installed as Melrosian at Melrose Abbey on Thursday night, but the ceremony was moved indoors to the town's Parish Church for the first time in eight years because of persistent rain.

In addition, the open-top car which would normally have transported him around neighbouring villages during Saturday's Tour of Ceremonies was forced off the road following health and safety fears; and the public were excluded from his traditional visit to Abbotsford House due to ongoing building works.

But Graeme, who was supported throughout by his Right Hand Man Ruaridh Nairn and Left Hand Man Scott Marjoribanks, admitted it had been a unique experience. And he thanked everyone, including family and friends, for their support.

Graeme said: "On Saturday morning I arrived home from the ball at 4am and then I was up at 7.30am to get ready for the Tour of Ceremonies - but it was all good.

"The highlight for me has to be the Monday night (rideout), riding the horse up behind the pipe band into the Market Square, just seeing the crowd and support from everybody, it was thrilling."

But he added: "The support I have received throughout the week has been great."

The Melrosian, along with his Right and Left Hand Men, visited Newstead, Trimontium, Gattonside, Abbotsford and Darnick during the Tour of Ceremonies before returning to Melrose for a short thanks-giving service, conducted by the Reverend Alistair Bennet, at the abbey.

They were joined by the Festival Queen Katy Wilkinson and her Court - First Attendant: Imogen Walls; Second Attendant: Isobel Reid; Courtier (Proclamation): Macx Clark-Wright; Courtier (Crown and Sceptre): Duncan Howard; Heralds: Michael Jamieson and Oliver Watson; and Trainbearers: Grace McWhinnie and Amelia Edmonson - as well as four coach loads of visitors and invited guests from across the Borders and beyond. And neighbours lined the route to wave as the cavalcade passed by.

Graeme said: "There haven't been any problems, everything has run smoothly throughout the week, apart from Thursday night when the Installation ceremony was moved from the abbey to the church, but it was a very nice setting and the atmosphere in the church was really good.

"It was also quite an intimate ceremony at Abbotsford this year but not many Melrosians will get to experience that."

And he added: "When I come back to celebrate my Silver and Golden Jubilee in 25 and 50 years time I look forward to meeting the future Melrosians and I hope they enjoy it as much as I did."

The Melrosian and his Right and Left Hand Men are expected to represent Melrose at the Braw Lads' Gathering in Galashiels as the summer of festivities continues this weekend.

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