Common Riding Trust
About the Trust
The reform of Local Government Act (Scotland), which was implemented in 1975, consigned the Burgh or Town Councils throughout Scotland to the history books and replaced them with a two-tier structure of District and Regional Councils.
The implications swept away the old and well recognised systems of local administration and many would argue created unwieldy and more distant contact with elected Councillors.
Conscious of their responsibilities in relation to Selkirk’s heritage and traditions the outgoing Town Council set up an Inter Vivos Trust Deed which was recorded in the Registers of Scotland "Books of Council and Session" which effectively decreed that Selkirk Common Riding Trust became successors to The Provost, Magistrates and Councillors of the Royal Burgh of Selkirk.
The remit within the Trust document was intended only with regard to the upholding of the Common Riding Traditions held annually in June and to "preserve and perpetuate in all time coming, Selkirk Common Riding and all ceremonial aspects thereof in its historical and traditional form".
The original Trust comprised of Selkirk’s elected Councillors on Ettrick and Lauderdale District Council and Borders Regional Council, and those members recorded as being present at the first meeting held on 11th September 1974 were: – Provost L. G. Thomson, Bailie J. Burke, Dean of Guild C. Cassidy, and Councillor T. W. Henderson. Also attending were J. C. Robertson, Town Clerk as Interim Chairman and Clerk to the Trustees, and Councillor J. A. Cruickshank. An apology for absence was submitted on behalf of Councillor S.M. Roberts. The Senior and Junior Burgh Officers attend all Trust meetings although they do not hold voting rights, however their contribution to the inner workings of that body ensures that it benefits immensely from their dedication and experience.
The aforementioned Councillor Jack Cruickshank had been specially invited to attend this meeting after having signified his willingness to act as Clerk to the Trustees and his appointment was unanimously confirmed.
There can be little doubt that Selkirk Common Riding’s abiding strength and popularity owes so much to the service and dedication of the late Jack Cruickshank over an unbroken term of twenty-five years as Clerk.
Tom Henderson too, was to render 19 consecutive years as Honorary Provost of the Trust and, in total, twenty-seven years as a loyal Trustee before his untimely passing in 2002. Yet in so long as there are people like Tom and Jack prepared to serve with such vigour and loyalty our Common Riding will continue for generations to come.
By 1996 the two tiered system of Scotland’s local authorities was overdue to be reformed and in this latest wind of change an opportunity was afforded to "broaden the base" of Selkirk Common Riding Trust.
In addition to the elected Councillors who are "ex–officio" Trustees a minute of amendment to the original Trust deed permitted representation from The Incorporation of Hammermen, Incorporation of Weavers, Incorporation of Fleshers, Selkirk Merchant Company, Selkirk Colonial Society, Selkirk Ex–Soldiers Association and the Ex-Standard Bearers Association.
Today Selkirk Common Riding Trust is therefore a broader and more representative administration than perhaps it used to be and in effect a very good team and the Trustees endeavour to carefully discharge their duties in accordance and within the spirit of the original Trust Deed.
The Trustees appoint Selkirk’s Standard–Bearer and Attendants and make detailed arrangements in relation to all ceremonial aspects of our Common Riding. They are responsible for the erection of all platforms and bunting, road gritting, crowd safety and liaison with Selkirk Silver, Pipe and Flute bands.
Their responsibility involves close working with the local Authority, Lothian and Borders Police, Scottish Ambulance Service, Red Cross, Mountain Rescue and sub-aqua teams and all "Casting" organisations all of whom serve to ensure that Selkirk Common Riding is as safe as possible for the mounted cavalcade and foot processions.
The current membership of Selkirk Common Riding Trust is as follows: – Provost Les Millar (Hammermen), Senior Baillie David Anderson (Ex–Standard–Bearers), Junior Baillie Alan Linton (Fleshers), Jim Henderson (Colonial Society), Jake Wheelans (Merchant Company), Billy Duff (Ex–Soldiers), Colin Anderson (Executive), Chalmers Stillie (Weavers) Vicky Davidson, Kenneth Gunn and Carolyn Riddell Carre (Scottish Borders Council), Johnnie Thomson (Clerk to the Trust), with James and Andrew Heatlie (Burgh Officers).
It is however, the people of Selkirk who make the biggest contribution towards upholding a most valuable heritage and who ensure that pride and dignity are foremost in our annual commemorations.