The Colonial Society installed their Standard Bearer Kenny Thomson at their Bussin’ in the Victoria Halls.
Chairman Lindsay Cockburn presided alongside guest chairman Les Millar with 26 exiles on the stage, including Standard Bearers and Lady Bussers from 2011 (Bobby and Sarah Murray from Australia) and 2010 (John Graham and Eva Michael from Canada), and other guests from Sweden and the USA.
Kenny Thomson, the youngest son of Georgie (The Bog) Thomson of The Bog Cottage and Mabel Thomson (nee Parkhill) of Yarrowford, was born in Selkirk, and his father was Colonial Standard Bearer 50 years ago.
He now lives in New Zealand with his partner Karen, and two children Eva and Cameron. His brother George, who also lives in New Zealand and joined Eva on stage, was Colonial Standard Bearer in 2012, making it a rare hat-trick for the family.
The programme began with Falconer Grieve, leading the community singing of Her Bright Smile before former Provost Millar commented: “For most exiled Souters, the Auld Grey Toun is never far from their thoughts, and it is testament to the community spirit and to the entrancing magic of our Common Riding that Souters aye return tae Selkirk when the roses bloom again.”
Kenny’s sister June Cox bussed the golden Banner, followed by a rousing Up Wi the Souters accompanied by the High School Band, led by Colin Kemp, and then Lead Kindly Light. An unaccompanied solo of Far Away in Australia was sung by Lewis Hislop, whom society chairman Lindsay Cockburn called a future star of the Common Riding. Ian Wilson, accompanied by Dave Mackay at the piano, followed with Wild Ettrick.
The Edinburgh Souters, represented by Alan Elliott and daughter Cara, presented a medallion to the Royal Burgh Standard Bearer.
The concert concluded with Fiona Gallagher singing My Ain Folk and the company singing Auld Selkirk and The Roses, before guests retired upstairs for the Bussin’ dinner.
In his speech, Kenny said that while he may have grown up abroad, he was brought up in the Common Riding tradition, thanks to his late father. He also recalled the words of his mum Mabel, who was, alas, too old to travel to Selkirk, before he left. “Whatever you do,” she told him, “don’t let down the Thomson family.”
And two days later, Kenny did his family and the Colonials proud.