‘It’s been so amazing’

70th Eyemouth Herring Queen, Miss Ailsa Landels
70th Eyemouth Herring Queen, Miss Ailsa Landels

All eyes were on Ailsa Landels last week as she became the 70th girl to be crowned Eyemouth Herring Queen and she cherished every moment.

High school pupil Ailsa was crowned in bright sunshine on Saturday, July 26 in front of a huge crowd who descended on Eyemouth to help the Herring Queen festival mark its special anniversary.

And her crowning was only the tip of the iceberg in what was a fantastic week for her, her family and the whole town.

“It’s been so amazing,” the teenager told ‘The Berwickshire’ after making an appearance at a special edition of ‘Something Scottish’ in Eyemouth’s Kirk Square last Friday.

The week has been everything I expected and more even if it’s been a bit of a blur.

“I still don’t feel like it’s happened as I haven’t really taken it all in; I wish I could go back to the end of last week when I went to the ‘Crowning Glory’ DVD screening in Coldingham.

“Meeting all the former queens made me even more excited for my week.”

Ailsa put a lump in many people’s throats with an emotional speech after her crowning when she thanked her family, particularly her mum and dad who she said had been with her “every step of the way,” and her mum Jemma said she too had enjoyed a fantastic week although like Ailsa she hadn’t really had time to take everything in.

“It’s all been a bit surreal for me.

“I’ve been Lady in Waiting a few times so to be the Herring Queen’s mum and actually get to stand at Gunsgreen and watch the lifeboat come in was a bit surreal.

“I felt so proud of her.”

As well as having the support of her family, Ailsa had four other people by her side for her momentous week- her maids Isla Dempster, Miranda McFarlane Sophie Ritchie and Cerys Smith.

“I couldn’t have done it without them,” Ailsa commented.

“It’s been great to experience the week with four of my best friends and have them next to me on the lifeboat on crowning day.

“That was a great moment and I really enjoyed the fancy dress to; that was a lot of fun.”

Ailsa’s first official week as Herring Queen ended on Sunday with a Service of the Sea at the EU Church following another popular festival tradition on Saturday night- the Pyjama and Torchlight Parade.

Unfortunately for Ailsa, the Herring Queen committee and everyone else intent on enjoying the closing weekend of this year’s event the weather was nowhere near as kind as a week earlier.

Rain made its presence felt throughout the day, even forcing the cancellation of the Four Legged Race along The Bantry, but that didn’t stop a large crowd turning out in the evening with their torches to light up the town and they were rewarded as the rain stopped which meant that there was also a great turnout for a fantastic firework display.

Winners from this year’s Herring Queen events are as follows:

Sandcastle Competition: Under-5s - Olivia; 6-9 year olds - Keely-Jo; 10-16 year olds - Mark Mitchell; groups - EHQ 2013.

Fancy Dress: Buggies - Rebekah Haddow (R2D2) 0-2 years - Katy Mutch (Cabbage Patch Doll); 3-5 years - Cassie Black (Butterfly); 6-8 years - Dani Peakman (Gnome on a Toadstool); 9-11 years - Sebastian Aitchison (Edward Scissorhands); 12-16 years - Tamara McFarlane (Queen of Cupcakes); Adults - Pat and Winnie (Oldest Swingers in Eyemouth); Groups - Bobbi, Katie, Keely-Jo, Jed, Josh, Lacey and Louie.

Baby show: 0-6 months - Theo; 7-12 months - Jed; 13-18 months - Ebony; 19-24 months - Micie.

Scavenger Hunt: Eight years and under - The Cool Gang (Demi, Ethan, Courtney and Kayden); Nine and over - Cuthbert (Ryan, Carmen, Jen and Dani).

Deal or No Deal: Children - Isla; Adults - Salima.

Homecoming Quiz - The All Spents.

Music Quiz - Geordie Vision.

Dry Boat Race - Pool Runnings; Best Fancy Dress - The Raggie Dolls.

There is no let up for Ailsa this week as she starts to carry out some Herring Queen duties with visits to Saltgreens and Swan Court in her diary as well as an appearance at a Queen’s Garden Party at Seaton Hall in Berwick.

She will have time for a quick caravaning trip to Kirkcudbright with her family before she’s back at Eyemouth High to begin a new school year.