SOUTERS can rest assured that this year’s Common Riding is in safe hands.

Newly appointed Standard Bearer Kieran Riddell is not only a veteran of riding the Marches, but he’s also an experienced flag caster.

The 26-year-old stonemason, who is a partner in the family business, was the Incorporation of Hammermen’s Standard Bearer back in 2013.

But this year it will be the Royal and Ancient Burgh Flag he will be waving above a packed Market Place.

And he can’t wait.

During Friday’s Appointment Night Kieran told the Border Telegraph: “All I’m thinking about right now is carrying the Burgh Flag on Common Riding morning.

“Since I was really young I’ve been into horses and loved the Common Riding. It can’t come quick enough.

“It’s been difficult keeping my appointment a secret over the past couple of weeks – I couldn’t wait to get into the chair tonight and let everyone know I will be Standard Bearer.”

At exactly 7pm on Friday the Town Hall doors were swung open, as is tradition, and the 2017 Standard Bearer was paraded shoulder high above the gathered supporters.

There were a few signs of nerves but a broad smile and confident wave soon took over.

Kieran follows in the footsteps of his dad, Keith, who was Standard Bearer in 1981.

And he has acted as an Attendant on three occasions – in 2007 behind Alistair Craig, in 2008 behind Guy Blair and last year behind Kieran Monks.

He first rode at the Common Riding as a 14-year-old and on the morning of Friday, June 16 he will be completing the Marches for the 12th time.

Selkirk Provost Jake Wheelans admitted Kieran fits the bill perfectly for a man charged with leading his town’s historic celebrations.

He told us: “Kieran is an experienced Souter who has grown up with the Common Riding and its traditions.

“He’s a good horseman and an exceptionally likeable young man, I know he will do a first class job as Standard Bearer.”

Throughout Common Riding morning Kieran will be ably supported by his Attendants – 25-year-old Peter Forrest, and 18-year-old trio Sam Coltherd, Thomas Wilmot and Robbie Reilly.

All five Principals were given a rousing reception as they paraded around the ancient streets of the Royal Burgh on Friday evening.

Crowds in their hundreds lined the route as well as marched in time to the Selkirk Silver Band and Selkirk Flute Band.

And Principals from many other Borders towns were on hand to give their support.

The reception the 2017 Standard Bearer received was just as loud inside the packed Victoria Hall during the Appointment Night Concert.

Introducing Kieran was the chairman of Selkirk Ex-Standard Bearers Association, Douglas Gunn.

He said: “I am sure Kieran will be a great ambassador for our town this summer.”

Special guest at the Concert was David Anderson, who celebrates the 25th anniversary of his year as Standard Bearer.