Selkirk’s first Standard Bearer of 2014 was officially appointed on Friday night, when Selkirk Merchant Company elected Andrew Anderson to cast its colours in the Market Place at this year’s Common Riding.
A Souter born and bred, Mr Anderson is eminently qualified for the role and will be following in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps. In addition, he is the older brother of the town’s Honorary Provost David Anderson, so the stage is set for a truly memorable Common Riding.
He told members and guests at Friday’s dinner: “It is a huge, huge honour for me to stand before you as the Merchant Company Standard Bearer for 2014. As many of you know, my dad lived and breathed Selkirk and the Common Riding, and I had an inside view on his time as Master from 1978 to 1979.
“I will be the proudest man in the world to carry and cast your flag on Friday the 13th day of June, so thank you again for the great honour you do me in appointing me to be your Standard Bearer for 2014.”
Andrew’s grandfather was Merchant Company Standard Bearer twice, in 1926 and then again in 1949 – the year Andrew’s father, Elliot, was Royal Burgh Standard Bearer. Andrew first rode the marches in 1972 at the age of nine, and has ridden them almost every year since.
Mr Anderson is the deputy director of Front Line Defenders, the International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, and prior to this worked for the International Secretariat of Amnesty International.
Andrew’s wife, Anna Pettinicchio, will be his Lady Busser. Anna works as a private teacher of French and Italian in Edinburgh, where the couple have their home. They have three children – Lowra, Elliot and Scott. Lowra works for the Red Cross in London, Elliot is currently travelling in South America, and Scott is studying for a degree in media studies at Aberdeen University.
The toast to the new Standard Bearer was proposed by the 2012 MerchantCompany Standard Bearer Mark Nichol, a close friend.
He told guests: “Our families go back a long way, and I have many happy memories of family gatherings either in Tower Street or the High Street.
“From joining the company in 1996, Andrew has been an active member, and I know the Merchant Company has made an excellent choice this year, and that Andrew will be a credit to the company.”
The toast to Selkirk Merchant Company, Town and Trade was proposed by Mrs Wilma Burgon, head teacher of Selkirk High School. She outlined the common values shared by the company and the high school, with both organisations making it a priority to invest in the young people of the town.
She told guests that Selkirk had a long history of recognising the value of education, and how the community spirit so evident in the town promotes priceless values and commented: “Our young people are our most priceless export, and here in Selkirk we have much to be proud of.”
Replying to the toast, Provost Anderson said Mrs Burgon and her staff deserved everyone’s thanks and support for the wonderful work carried out at the high school.
On a lighter note, he told guests that he never thought he’d have a celebrity big brother.
He promised Andrew that he and his fellow Standard Bearers would be at the heart of the 2014 Common Riding, adding: “There is no greater honour and no greater thrill than being asked to cast the colours in the Market Place.”
He was certain that come the big day, his brother would be floating on air.
The dinner was chaired by Selkirk Merchant Company’s Master, Jim Cockburn, and the vote of thanks was given by company member Andrew Douglas. Musical entertainment was provided by Hilary Bell and John Nichol, with Jim Marshall the accompanist for the evening.
At the AGM prior to the dinner, five new members were officially admitted to the company – David Deacon, Chris Kemp, Graham Easton, Kelvin Scott and Andrew Moyes.
It was announced that secretary Stuart Kemp is to step down from the role after six years in post, and he was thanked for all his hard work and dedication during that time. Ex-Master Andrew Proudfoot is to take on the role on an interim basis for the next 12 months.
New committee appointments saw Mark Nichol and Ian Main be assigned the roles of assistant secretary and assistant treasurer respectively, while David Nichol is taking over as sports convener from Ian Clapperton, who was thanked for doing such an excellent job over the years.
Honorary life memberships were bestowed on Bob McKenna, Alan Pearce, Eric Hislop and Jim Henderson, who have all been members for 40 years, while two members - Tom Brown and Jack Wood - have reached the 50-year membership mark.