Commemorating the dead of Flodden is nothing new to the people of the Royal and Ancient Burgh of Selkirk.
The story of the 80 men who rallied round King James IV on that fateful and bloody day on September 9, 1513, and the return of Fletcher, the sole survivor, is known to every Souter.
Each Common Riding, the Casting of the Colours is a poignant reminder of the price this burgh paid at Flodden and also in subsequent conflicts.
A century ago, in the 400th anniversary year of that slaughtering of the Scots at the hands of the Auld Enemy, Lord Rosebery – the former Prime Minister – unveiled what was at that time the only Flodden memorial on Scottish soil – Fletcher. But thanks to initiatives from organisations like the Coldstream-based 1513 Club, that has changed.
And in this, the 500th anniversary year of the conflict at Branxton on the English side of the Tweed, Selkirk is renewing and affirming its commitment to commemorate and not to forget its sad, but proud past.
Central to that will be the opening of the Memorial Garden in the grounds of the Victoria Halls – and just a few yards away from the ever-watching Fletcher.
It will be opened on Saturday, September 7, by the Duke of Buccleuch after the burgh has welcomed a Borderers Return Banner to the town. The banner has been commissioned by the 1513 Club and is being taken on a horse relay around eight towns in the Borders. Each town is providing six riders as an escort – and it is being carried from Hawick to Selkirk by Ex-Royal Burgh Standard Bearers John Beveridge, Stuart Coltherd, Duncan Lawson, James Cheyne, Guy Blair and Gavin Henderson (see timetable for details).
Selkirk’s Flodden 500 committee, which has organised a variety of events, is chaired by Jake Wheelans.
He told The Wee Paper: “We are coming up for an emotional and emotive time, and I am proud of the way the committee, the many volunteers and, indeed, the town has rallied round this project. That support is much appreciated.
“This was a £60,000 project that involved a lot of fundraising. We knew when we started that it would be a long-term effort. It has been hard work, but extremely worthwhile.
“We are still putting the final touches to the Memorial Garden, but I believe it will be something in which we can all take a genuine pride.”
When the South Marches are ridden on Sunday, September 15 (see timetable), Jake says there is still room for more Flodden Walkers to join the procession at Goslawdales.
Check out these pages for times and places of what is happening here and across the Borders.