Suitably Kirked, Lanark Cornet-elect Iain is ready for Marches tonight

Iain Hughes, left, as the Kirkin' procession forms up. Current Lord Cornet Gordon Jess carries the Burgh Standard.
Iain Hughes, left, as the Kirkin' procession forms up. Current Lord Cornet Gordon Jess carries the Burgh Standard.

Lanark's Lord Cornet-elect Iain Hughes was Kirked yesterday, in St Nicholas Church at Lanark Cross.

He was escorted down the High Street by former cornets and dignitaries, in a procession led by Lanark and District Pipe Band.

Iain Hughes was at the centre of Lanark Cross on the Monday night of Lanimers last year - with the rugby club holding back the crowds at the Sashing of the Lord Cornet.

This year he will be the one the crowds gather to see tomorrow evening, as he is sashed as Lord Cornet 2017, and the rugby club will be cheering on their president.

As Lanimer week begins Iain already has a busy six months behind him.

“It has been a roller coaster,” he said. And being kitted out in his sash and with the Burgh Standard for his official photo in the brochure has brought it home to him how near it is.

“It is getting kind of real very quickly,” he said.

It is a busy year in more than one way. Iain, a detective at Wishaw CID, and his wife Suzie had their first child, Noah, just before he was picked as Lord Cornet-elect in January. Maternity leave has freed Suzie from her work, as principal teacher at Douglas Primary, to join him in the celebrations.

And so far they have visited neighbouring towns such as Biggar, West Linton, Peebles and Innerleithen, getting to know their principals before he represents Lanark in the traditional celebrations right across the border.

“I feel really privileged,” said Iain. “I don’t think I would ever have been to these celebrations had I not been in this position. There is an overriding sense of community spirit - like there is across Lanark - and it is really nice to see that, and to be welcomed into their communities and their lives.”

His riding lessons are paying off, and he is looking forward to taking part in some of the common rides in border towns in the future. As Lanark Cornet-elect, however, he is still being “kept in bubble wrap” until the Lanark celebrations are past - and having dislocated an elbow in one fall he realises the sense of that!

Iain has always been a keen worker in the community; he helps with the Eagles primary school rugby section, and has been involved in stewarding for years, not just at Lanimer time but for events like the Panto.

He has already used his position as Cornet elect to support Lanark in Bloom, setting up a crowdfunding website to help it buy a new van.

But now Iain is concentrating on the days ahead, and already keeping a folder of souvenirs, of invites and programmes, for the years beyond to make sure he can savour it once the rush has past.

“I am looking forward to the Monday night, to becoming the Lord Cornet and then really enjoying the week, taking part in all the different events and welcoming visiting principals to the town,” he said. “I am excited.”

Iain, 39, was on Lanimer lorries put out by St Mary’s Primary as a child, but is one of the first Cornets in the years with a “zero” background in the Lanimer committee, and he paid tribute to them for all the work they did.

“It is an amazing body of people with the work they put in to make Lanimers the spectacular show that it is,” he said.

And as he leads the public round the Marches on the Perambulation, or carries the Standard on horseback, he will be a proud part of that spectacle.