Making friends for life as Duns summer festival returns

Reivers Lass Melissa Redpath, Reiver Josh Herbert and right hand lass Nicolle Burns.
Reivers Lass Melissa Redpath, Reiver Josh Herbert and right hand lass Nicolle Burns.

Being part of Duns Reiver Week is an amazing experience like no other, the summer festival chairman said this week.

Ann Lindsay was speaking just days before the 2017 event begins, saying that everyone involved had already done themselves and their town proud.

The 2017 Duns Summer Festival will run from Sunday, July 2, to Saturday July 8, with the Kirkin O’ Reiver at Duns Parish Church taking place on the first day.

The ceremony will kick off a week of sports, ridings, games and concerts to uphold a tradition that has run almost every year since 1949.

Serving her third year as chairman, Ms Lindsay said: “Everyone is getting very excited and we are busy with some final preparations.

“The bunting is going up and we are confirming insurances and road closures, checking itineraries and putting programmes out in the town.

“Being a principal in Reiver’s Week is an amazing experience – I was a principal myself in 2004. You make great friends and you never lose those friends because they become like your family.

“You spend every weekend with them from the installation in April to the last festival in August; it’s an amazing feeling.

“You also give pride to your family. The pride they feel because you are involved is as much as the children and young people feel.

“That feeling of pride and the memories that they make is something that will stay with them and they can always look back on.

“It’s a dream come true.”

The 2017 Reiver Josh Herbert said he is honoured at his election but also thrilled to be following his aunt, Jennifer Turner, who was Reiver’s Lass in 1999.

Josh said: “I am honoured to have the privilege to be elected as Reiver for 2017 and I would like to thank Duns Summer Festival and the Ex-Reivers Association for this opportunity.

“Last year has flown by but what a blast I had!

“I had an amazing time as Right Hand Man supporting Euan and Jade alongside my Lass Melissa while we were in our home town and out visiting the other Border towns.

“The friends and the memories we made means it will be a year I will never forget.

“I have always enjoyed watching and being involved in Reiver’s Week from a very young age.

“Being in the Reiver’s party is something every kid wants to do when they grow up and following in my auntie’s footsteps will make this even more of a year to remember.”

Reiver’s Lass 2017 Melissa Redpath: “Being selected as Reiver’s Lass for 2017 is both a privilege and a dream come true.

“Ever since I rode for the first time in Reiver’s Week aged five, I have always hoped to some day be honoured with the position. I would like to thank the Duns Summer Festival for allowing me to do so, as well as for all the support they have provided.

“I would like to take this opportunity to wish Josh, Nicolle, the Wynsome Mayde and her maydes as well as the people of Duns a fantastic Reiver’s Week and thank you for your support.”

Wynsome Mayde O’Dunse 2017, 11-year-old Edith Stuart is also looking forward to the week ahead.

She said: “I am really excited to be this year’s Wynsome Mayde because my older sister was the crown bearer when she was in Primary 7. I remember all the fun and excitement.

“I’m excited to be crowned by Mrs Rhona Burchick as she taught my sister at school.”

Highlights of the week’s festivities include the crowning of the Wynsome Mayde on Monday in Duns Public Park followed by the first ride out and the ever-popular bed race.

On Tuesday, the teddy bear’s picnic will take place in the Volunteer Hall, followed by the tea dance.

The ride out to Duns Law will take place on Tuesday evening followed by a ceilidh in Volunteer Hall.

Wednesday will involve a visit to Duns Castle and the ride out to Gavinton, while the Duns ex-Reivers duck race will be held at Langton Mill at 6pm.

On Thursday, the Reiver, Lass, Attendant and followers will ride out to Longformacus followed by the formal Reiver dinner and ball in the evening.

Friday will bring the Duns and District Photographic Exhibition in Duns Parish Church Hall followed by the hand ba’ competition between the over 25s and the under 25s men.

Chairman Ms Lindsay added: “We’re very excited for an amazing week.

“Everyone has worked their socks off and everything they have done they have done it with passion.”