Hawick Common Riding to return after two year absence

Credit: ITV News

Hawick Common Riding will return this summer after a two-year absence in the interest of the town's "well-being and economy", it has been announced.

Members of Hawick Common Riding Committee unanimously backed the return of the annual event when they met on Thursday, January 20.

The celebration at the beginning of June marks the capture of the English flag in 1514 by the youth of Hawick at Hornshole and the ancient custom of riding the marches or boundaries of common land.

Credit: ITV News

Its absence over the last two years due to Covid-19 has left a big hole in the town's cultural and social life - and resulted in a hit to its economy.

Hawick provost and town councillor Watson McAteer hailed its return as a move which would receive widespread endorsement.

He said: "This is really good news for Hawick and the whole community. It has been two years in its absence and its return will be warmly welcomed in the town.

"I know that the committee will act in the interests of the whole community in making sure that any safety measures needed are in place but hopefully we can go ahead with a full Common Riding as we know it.

"Everybody looks forward to the Common Riding. It's a huge thing and its absence has been felt in the town. It has a big role to play in the community and while the committee has done really well over the two years when it has been suspended, getting back to the real thing is what everybody wants."

A spokesperson for the committee said: "The committee unanimously agreed the election of a Cornet for 2022 and to endeavor to run a traditional Common Riding within Government guidelines.

"Any changes to guidance from Scottish Government or Scottish Borders Council may require adjustments to be made for some events, more likely those that are normally held indoors.

"This could mean reduced numbers at indoor events or alternatively use of outdoor venues, as is deemed necessary.

"The committee and principals are of the opinion it is essential to proceed with our Common Riding 2022 for both the well being and economy of the town, and we look forward to the continued support of our townsfolk and exiles alike."