Time to fly the flags

Ex Soldiers Standard Bearer for 2014 Fiona Deacon

Ex Soldiers Standard Bearer for 2014 Fiona Deacon

In addition to the flag of the Royal and Ancient Burgh, there are six other flags each year at Selkirk Common Riding – those of the Hammermen, the Weavers, the Fleshers, the Colonial Society, the Merchants and the Ex-Soldiers.

Incorporation of 

The Incorporation received its Seal of Cause in 1681 and has been in continued existence ever since. Its 150 membership is made up of joiners, stonemasons, painters, electricians, plumbers, plasters and slaters.

This year’s Standard Bearer is David Main. He served his time as a painter and decorator with N.W. Purves before retraining as an electrician with the now-closed Exacta Circuits. He completed this apprenticeship with his father at JGM Services and five years ago took charge of the company. He’s a retained firefighter in Selkirk.

Corporation of Weavers

It was in May 1608 that the bailies and councillors of Selkirk granted the Corporation of Weavers its Seal of Cause – the first of the town’s trades to given that right. On the 400th anniversary, the Corporation opened its membership to any person employed, or previously employed, in the manufacture of cloth. The 2014 Standard Bearer is John Black left school to serve a five-year apprenticeship as a shader at Whinfield Mills He moved to Ettrick and Yarrow Spinners and is now a financial planner with an Edinburgh-based company.

Incorporation of Fleshers

The Fleshers had formed a professional body long before receiving their Seal of Cause from the King in 1679. Sadly, the Incorporation disappeared from the Common Riding but was revised by enthusiasts in 1980, with Lindsay Grieve as Standard Bearer. The Incorporation didn’t Cast until the following year. This year’s Standard Bearer is Ivor Ward who trained at Lows before moving to work with Jim and George Hogg. He’s enjoyed several career changes and is now a stonemason.

Selkirk Colonial Society

Late in the 19th century a thriving textile industry had developed at Hespeler in Ontario which attracted a number of Selkirk to emigrate. Two Souter friends – one from Hespeler and the other from Australia – returned for the 1909 Common Riding but didn’t know the other was there. The following year in Hespeler 46 Souters formed the Colonial Society. Kenny Thomson returns from new Zealand as Colonial Standard Bearer. His father Georgie was Colonial Standard bearer 50 years ago and brother George fulfilled the role in 2012.

Selkirk Merchant Company

The earliest surviving minute book of the Merchant Company dates from 1694 but there were Guilds of Merchants in Selkirk during the 1165-1215 reign of William the Lion. The first record of a Standard Bearer is 1721, but it wasn’t until 1968 that Merchant Company flag was Cast by Bill Ainslie. Andrew Anderson is this year’s Standard Bearer. Grandfather Andrew was Standard Bearer in 1926 and 1949. His father Elliot was Royal Burgh Standard Bearer in 1949, as was his brother David – the current Provost – in 1992. He has worked for 25 years in international human rights and is deputy director of Front Line Defenders.

Selkirk Ex-Soldiers’ 

The Association was founded by men from the town who had fought in the Boer War, to consolidate their comradeship, joining the Common Riding procession in 1910. When the British Legion was founded after the 1914-18 conflict, the two organisations became intertwined. It is to the Ex-Soldiers Standard Bearer that falls the duty of the final Cast and the dipping of the Union Flag in silent remembrance of the Fallen. This year history is being made. For the first woman will climb onto the Casting platform. Fiona Deacon served in the Royal Military Police between 1988 and 2006, attaining the rank of sergeant. She served in West Germany, Northern Ireland, London and Kosovo, as well as the Royal Military Training School at Chichester and Aldershot. Her husband David was Standard Bearer last year and has already bussed his wife’s Colours.




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