Penicuik’s new Hunter and Lass have revealed their excitement about their upcoming roles in the town festival’s 80th anniversary.
At 19, William Brown is one of the youngest ever Hunters, and the festival is in his blood. His grandfather, also William Brown, was Hunter in 1952, while his grandmother Marion Flockhart was Lass in 1953.
The 2016 Hunter plays rugby for Peebles and Borders Reivers and is currently studying for a mechanical engineering HND at Edinburgh College’s Midlothian Campus.
He said: “It’s quite a privilege, I have to admit. I was thinking about doing it in later years but my mates pushed me forward a bit early and to get it is an honour.
“I must be one of the youngest that’s for sure. It’s perhaps quite daunting given my age. But it’s nothing I can’t handle.
“When I went down for my interview there were about eight of them questioning me and they let me know that night that I got it.
“I was over the moon, and my family are delighted.
“I’m most looking forward to going round Penicuik and seeing everything that happens in the work of the gala. Visiting the schools, going to the ladies football, the car show, all the events. It will be great to see it all and be a big part of it.
“I’m also looking forward to the ride out. I had not ridden a horse since I was 14. So I was back in the saddle last week to get some practice, just so I don’t come off on the ride!
“I met my Lass a couple of days after finding out I was in. She is really lovely . Really easy to chat to. I couldn’t have asked for a better Lass.”
The Lass in question is Kerry Wilson (43), a mother of five, who has lived in Penicuik for 30 years. She is a full-time carer for her youngest daughter who is disabled. She said: “I’m delighted, absolutely delighted. Shocked but still really pleased.
“We have had our first induction night, in Annan, so that has given me an indication of what it will be like. I went down with the current Hunter and Lass and the Hunter elect for this year.
“It was a great night. Last year’s Hunter and Lass were really lovely, giving us advice about everything really. They have been brilliant.
“I knew of William but I had never met him before. He is a lot younger than me but I have had a great laugh. I think we will have fun.
“I’m looking forward to all of it really. The riding in particular. I haven’t ridden for three years so to get into that is really exciting. Obviously the parade will be fun as well.
“I had always thought of the festival as the ride out, since I moved to Penicuik as a teenager. It’s only in the last few years I learned more about it.
“My husband Gordon did the equivalent festival in Peebles. Twenty years down the line he is still very involved.
“He has absolutely loved it. So he can help me with this.”