THE countdown to Selkirk’s 2024 Common Riding has officially begun following the appointment of the town’s first Standard Bearer.

Housing support officer Peter Dallas will carry the Selkirk Merchant Company flag at this year’s celebrations.

And he told members and guests at the annual dinner that his appointment was a “huge honour” for himself, and for his wife Carol.

A member of Scottish Borders Council’s homelessness team, Peter, 58, is also a mental health and wellbeing officer with the Penumbra charity.

Carol is Penumbra’s local manager, and will buss her husband’s flag at the company’s bussin’ dinner on June 11.

Born in Edinburgh, the new Standard Bearer studied for a business economics degree at the Scottish College of Textiles.

An accomplished musician and song writer, he and Carol share a love of scuba diving, and to reflect this has chosen “sky” and “dusky blue” as his rosette colours.

Another new appointment was made at Friday’s dinner, when well-known Souter Falconer Grieve took over the role of Selkirk Merchant Company Master from Viv Ross, who he thanked for all her hard work over the past two years.

Falconer has been a Selkirk Merchant Company member since 1972, and at the age of 23 served as Selkirk’s Royal Burgh Standard Bearer in 1970.

He and his wife Jean are regular attenders at all Selkirk Merchant Company functions.

The toast to the Standard Bearer was proposed by Alistair Pattullo, while the toast to “Selkirk Merchant Company, town & trade” came from Selkirk Distillers’ founder Allan Walker.

Selkirk’s new Honorary Provost, Rodney Pow, told guests that the Common Riding had been central to Selkirk life for centuries, and spoke of the importance of upholding traditions in a “community built on pride”.

The vote of thanks was given by Sue Briggs, while musical entertainment was provided by Hilary Bell, Jimmy Gibb and accompanist Ann Witherington.

At the AGM held prior to the dinner, seven new members were admitted to the Company – Yvonne Mitchell, Andrew Murray, Javier & Charly Ternero, Dorothy Henderson, Lesley Henderson and Alana Lawrie.

Treasurer Judith Thomson said the organisation’s finances were in good health, and that grants would again be made to the Common Riding Trust, as well as to the town’s schools, its three bands and the “Blooming Selkirk” organisation.

Jake Wheelans and George Jack were made Honorary Life Members of the Company, after 40 years of membership.