Lanark Rugby Club president Iain Hughes has been to the fore regularly on marches night, stewarding the perambulation and keeping back the crowds gathered at the cross for the shifting of the standard.
But this year he will be the person the crowds are gathered to see as he is sashed Lanark Lord Cornet for 2017, and his colleagues at the club will be holding the line back as he is presented with the burgh standard.
“It is an incredible privilege to be asked to be the standard bearer for the town, almost an ambassador for the town, for a year,” said Iain. “It is exciting.”
The 38-year-old and wife Suzanne, principal teacher at Douglas Primary School, had their first child, Noah, just six weeks ago.
“I thought I was going to have a busy year with my son, but it has just got a whole lot busier,” said Iain.
A detective with Police Scotland, currently working in Wishaw’s criminal investigation department, he had just finished a night shift on Saturday when Lanimer chairwoman Loraine Swan and cornets’ club president Kenny Lean arrived at his door, but he had to wait to consult with Suzanne before accepting.
A Lanarkian born and bred, Iain was on Lanimer lorries put out by St Mary’s Primary from his earliest days, making his debut as a candle on a birthday cake.
He went on to St Aidan’s High School, but began playing rugby with the Lanark Grammar team, graduating to Lanark Rugby Club as his lifelong enthusiasm for the sport continued.
He has helped set up its Eagles, junior teams and a school of rugby at Lanark Grammar.
And he and his colleagues regularly help out at local events.
“If you have got a rugby club, it should be at the heart of its community, and I think Lanark Rugby Club is,” said Iain.
As volunteers, team members do the Lanimer stewarding and assist with the Christmas market and the illuminated procession, as well as helpingthe panto groups performing in the memorial hall.
“It means people have a wee soft spot for the rugby club,” Iain laughed,
This is the second honour bestowed on Iain for his voluntary work in the town. Last year, he was made a burgess.
There is a lot to happen before Iain is sashed on Monday, June 5, with riding lessons being one of his priorities as he has never even been on a horse before.
But he is looking forward to the year. He has been promised lots of support and from his work with the rugby club he knows: “If you throw your heart and soul into something, it usually works out.”