Stuart to lead celebrations

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CORNET elect Stuart Murray scored a resounding victory when the voters gave him a substantial majority in last Friday's election.

Right-hand man Simon Tweddle and left-hand man Jamie Fletcher congratulate Stuart Murray on being elected Langholm Cornet
Rachel Norris
Right-hand man Simon Tweddle and left-hand man Jamie Fletcher congratulate Stuart Murray on being elected Langholm Cornet

Stuart, 22, was standing for the second time as was his rival Iain Little, 23, but it is Stuart who will lead the celebrations on the last Friday in July.

He polled 682 votes compared with Iain's 358 and could not hide his delight when right and left-hand men Simon Tweddle and Jamie Fletcher called at his door a few minutes later.

With him at the family home in Townfoot were his dad Les, who makes the floral crown, mum Gillian and sister Shonagh, along with his Nana Mary Johnstone and aunt Tracey Johnstone.

Many of his friends were on hand to congratulate him and to accompany him around the town that night, starting with the traditional stop in the Masonic social club and ending with the dance in the Buccleuch Centre.

After the voting finished and before the result was declared, Roger Maxwell chaired the annual public meeting of the Common Riding members.

He said: "In a changing world we're fortunate that we have an event like the Common Riding which goes from strength to strength. The enthusiasm has never diminished and has probably never been greater."

He said the weather in 2016 was mixed but they had no rain on any of the preliminary ride-outs and Common Riding day was a day out of the top drawer.

Every event of the day was a complete success from the morning procession to the handing in of the flag.

He said: "We couldn't have wished for a better day or a better Cornet. He did a great job and his ever-present smile rubbed off on all those present.

"Simon had two excellent supports in Jamie Fletcher and Dale Irving. He could not have wished for two better men. We're very lucky to have such fine fellows coming forward year after year."

Roger thanked the Duke of Buccleuch for allowing the use of the Castleholm, Langholm Cricket Club for their pavilion and the farmers over whose land they crossed.

Kenneth Hill, secretary, outlined the events of 50 years ago when Colin Barnfather, 17, was elected the youngest ever Cornet, and 25 years ago when it was Stephen Rae's year.

Colin had continued his enthusiasm for the Common Riding and was instrumental in setting up the young riders' club. He joined the Common Riding committee in 1984.

Stephen, who was a member of the Castle Craigs Club, was unopposed. A feature of that year was the inclement weather in the lead-up but on Common Riding day the sun shone from dawn to dusk.

John Elliot, treasurer, said last year's event was a resounding success and they made a record surplus. With the use of G4S staff the gate takings had gone up over the past two years by £3,650. The bar takings were up 20 per cent.

There were strong increases in the horse racing, athletics and programme sales and many more local businesses gave support.

Total income was £48,000 compared with £41,000 in 2015, while total expenditure was £39,000, up £1,600 on the previous year. The net surplus was £7,700 compared with £2,600 in 2015.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at 9:00AM
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