IT has been named the wettest Common Riding day since James Smith was Standard Bearer in 1948 – but Gavin Henderson maintained, “I would love to do it again”.
The 26-year-old did his town proud in horrendous conditions, and also overcame a change of horse before the big day.
But neither unsettled the forestry worker, who had his dad Elliot, mum Dorothy, sister Tracey and eight-year -old niece Rachel among his 390 mounted followers – believed to be a first for a Hail Smilin’ Morn.
Gavin told The Wee Paper this week: “I think even if there was six feet of snow the people of Selkirk would still line the streets in their thousands. I have received so much support and many congratulations.
“You cannot control the weather, and to be honest I did not feel the rain, although it was cold.
“The Casting was hard. The flag must have been four times heavier than usual and it was almost sticking to the platform when I swung it behind me.”
Gavin was forced to swap his usual horse Hector after it picked up facial and ear injuries, leading to his new nickname of Vincent (Van Gogh).
But his replacement Cassie failed to put a hoof wrong.
“Hector had a bit of his ear bitten off by another horse and did not look too great,” added Gavin. “But Cassie likes leading from the front and was perfect on the day.”
Dad Elliot revealed the Hendersons only decided to follow Gavin following a plea from his son in April.
He said: “It was a decision made at Ryan Crockatt’s wedding. I wanted to ride but Dorothy said she would prefer to watch from the sidelines.
“However, Gavin said he wanted us all there. He told us, ‘You can watch a video of the day but you will never get the chance to follow your son as Standard Bearer’.
“We had Gavin within our sight the whole rideout, apart from at the Three Brethren where it was so misty you could hardly see in front of you. It was a great feeling coming into The Toll.”
Dorothy told us: “If you had told me two weeks ago the weather would be like this, I would have been really, really upset.
“But when the day comes, I did not even notice the rain. I am really, really proud of him. It is not easy in the best of conditions but on a wet, misty day with a very heavy flag, I am so proud of him, and the attendants.
“A few people have said to me that they cannot remember a Standard Bearer’s mum, dad, sister and niece ever following him round on horseback.”
Gavin received his riding crop at The Toll from Gary Haldane of The Rig Committee, a relative of the late Brian Kerr, Standard Bearer 50 years ago.
Gary added: “It was a proud moment for the family.”