Penicuik set for festival week

Penicuik Hunter and Lass 2016 William Brown and Kerry Wilson (centre) with the hunter and lass from the two previous years

Penicuik Hunter and Lass 2016 William Brown and Kerry Wilson (centre) with the hunter and lass from the two previous years

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This year’s Penicuik Hunter and Lass are up for a week of events in the town starting on Saturday, marking the 80th anniversary of the festival.

At 19, William Brown is one of the youngest ever Hunters and he can’t wait to get started. He said: “It has come quickly, unbelievably quickly.

“It’s quite weird to think that I used to be part of the parade on the floats. And now I will be leading it on the big day.

“I’m really looking forward to it. I have really been cramming in the horse riding lessons. It will be great to have my mum on the ride out as well. I thought she would quite like to be part of it so I invited her.

“From the rest of the week, I’m most looking forward to the car show. I have never been to it before, but it sounds quite exciting.”

Penicuik Lass 2016 Kerry Wilson said: “I’m very excited. I can’t wait. It seemed like it was ages away when we signed up, but now it’s here.

“If the weather can stay like it has been then that would be good. The last few years have been absolutely fantastic. I can’t remember the last time it rained really heavily on the ride out. I’ve probably jinxed it now!

“Hopefully it all goes well. Everybody says you have got to take a few minutes to take it all in as it’s gone so quickly.”

Penicuik Hunter and Lass chairman Derek Wilson was glad to see local groups rally round after the festival struggled to find a Hunter this year.

He said: “I’m very excited, particularly being the 80th anniversary. I’m just really looking forward to everything.

“It’s all falling into place now. We have had a good response to our campaign. People really rallied round. I think the festival has just regenerated itself with our appeal. The majority of people here recognise the significance of the festival and realise that if we lost it, we would never get it back again.

“It’s still a massive event for the town. In fact I reckon it’s the biggest in Midlothian. All the other galas offered help when they saw we were struggling, which I thought was excellent to see.

“On the back of that we now have a ‘Midlothian events’ Facebook page, and we are all going to help each other where we can. We have had a couple of meetings already.”