THERE were many reasons to be celebrating on Sunday, July 31, 2011 - the day Christopher Columbus founded Trinidad 513 years ago, the end of British Army operations in Northern Ireland four years ago, and the birthdays of the Tom and Jerryproducer Fred Quimby and J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame - but in Coldstream the celebrations were much closer to home as the date marked the start of the town’s Civic Week.
Soldiers from 7th Company Coldstream Guards 36 Ex-Coldstreamers and the many guests and wellwishers who had assembled in Henderson Park on Sunday afternoon, were welcomed to the official start of Coldstream Civic Week by master of ceremonies Rev Jim Watson.
Ex-Coldstreamer and chairman of the Presenting Coldstream committee, James Bell, then took over, introducing his son and 2011 Coldstreamer Steven Bell, Right Hand Man, Liam Wallis and Left Hand Man Ricky Hope, reminding everyone that it was 60 years since the first seed was sown of a Coldstream week.
“I wonder what the 1951 committee would think of their Civic Week now if they were here today,” he said.
“There are many people over the years who have contributed to make Civic Week what it is but aren’t here to see it. This is a birthday celebration and instead of a minute’s silence let’s give them a big round of applause.”
James then introduced the 1986 Coldstreamer, Michael Shepherd, who was celebrating his silver jubilee and according to recent traditions he was asked to carry out the sashing ceremony, to herald in another Civic Week.
Taking to the rostrum Michael said: “It’s been 25 years and now Steven it’s your time to be proud.
“Like his father he is proud of his country, proud of his town and proud of his family.
“I’m proud to sash the young lad who followed me to Flodden. I asked him then if he wanted to be Coldstreamer one day and he replied very politely ‘Yes Please!’”
Steven’s father James remembers it well - riding to Flodden in 1985 and 1986 with his young son at his side and orange squash in his hip flask instead of something stronger!
Telling Steven that he was the fifth person to be the youngest rider to Flodden who later went on to be Coldstreamer James said to him: “You have waited a long time for this. As any ex-Coldstreamer will tell you it will go by in a flash.”
For the 2011 Coldstreamer Steven, the wait was over and he told the crowd: “Finally it’s here.
“I’ve had a great summer spent with Ricky and Liam representing Coldstream at the other Borders towns - now it’s our turn.
“When I rode to Flodden in 1986 the horse I rode was called Kelly and my feet barely reached to the bottom of the saddle.”
And in a touching tribute to his late mother Susan who was secretary of Presenting Coldstream for many years and whose contribution to Civic Week echoes the town’s motto in being second to none, Steven said: “There’s not a moment when I don’t think about my mum and I’m sure there will be signs on Thursday to let me know that she is here.”
Once Steven had been sashed, handed the burgh standard (to be carried unsullied and untarnished throughout the week), and Pat Hope, mother of Left Hand Man Ricky Hope had bussed the standard with this year’s Coldstreamer colours of emerald green and silver, Coldstream Pipe Band then led the parade along the High Street and Coldstream Civic Week was well and truly underway.