ANGRY parents have demanded an explanation after a festival committee changed its rules just days before selecting the principals.

Several challenges in the past have been made for the Tweedbank Fair committee to relax its rules over who can take part.

But the village volunteers had stuck to their constitutional guns regarding only Primary 7 pupils from Tweedbank Primary who live in the village being eligible - until last week.

An online posting on Friday from the committee announcing changes has been met with division in the community.

Angela Crosbie, who is a former committee member, wasn't allowed to put her daughter forward several years ago because they had moved to Galashiels.

She told us: "Ever since the start of the Tweedbank Fair there have been a few children every year who have not been considered as they don't live in the village.

"When I was on the committee we came under pressure a few times and I can sympathise with the current committee, but it has always stuck by its constitution and this decision is so unfair for all of the children who have missed out in the past.

"There has been no AGM or consultation - they have just changed the rules out of the blue."

Tweedbank Fair is one of the highlights in the village calender.

Every year primary seven pupils are selected to take on the principal roles of Tweedbank Lad and Tweedbank Lass as well as four Attendants.

Another parent, who we agreed not to name, said: "There's always been a feeling that the criteria should be more open but so many children have missed out in the past and they wouldn't change the rules then.

"This feels like a kick in the teeth for the parents of children who weren't considered in the past."

A request to change the criteria for selection consideration was made just recently.

It is understood Tweedbank Primary School has backed the request and the committee made its decision at the end of last week.

A statement published on the Tweedbank Fair social media page said: "The Fair Committee, with the best of intentions, agreed to the alteration.

"The committee have taken advice from Scottish Borders Council and recognising the concerns raised, the Committee would like to announce that for this year the following changes will be made to the selection of the Tweedbank Lad, Lass and Attendants - selection will be open to all children who live in Tweedbank who are in attendance in P7 at any school, and selection will also be open to all children who have been in P7 at Tweedbank Primary School from the start of the school year 2018/19, no matter where they live."

The announcement was met with both opposition and support from the community.

Local councillor David Parker understands the concerns but believes the committee has acted accordingly.

He said: "Both the committee and the primary school considered unique circumstances and they adopted a sympathetic approach.

"I can understand why some people may be unhappy but a decision had to be made.

"It's a thankless task being on the Fair committee and they deserve our support."

An AGM is planned for November when the constitution and selection process will be discussed.

The 2019 Tweedbank Fair Picking Night takes place on Saturday evening at the Community Centre.