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Annan set for day of celebration and tradition

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By Thomas Hanley
Annan and Eskdale
Annan set for day of celebration and tradition

EXCITEMENT is building for this Saturday's Annan Riding of the Marches (RoM), the culmination of a packed fortnight of events.

The annual celebrations have been hailed a success for many years, due to the passion and efforts of people like convener Stuart Thompson, who has been involved with the ceremonies for 40 years.
Mr Thompson’s passion for RoM was apparent as he this week enthused about the big day.
He emphasised that the crowds can expect all the well-known and loved traditions that have been a staple of RoM throughout the years.
They include the spectacular march-riding, on land and on the Solway sands, to inspect the historic Royal Burgh boundaries in the morning followed by the Cornet’s Chases on the Everholm, a colourful parade through the streets including a number of bands, a family-orientated afternoon event and a nationally acknowledged visitor attraction – the massed Pipe Bands on the High Street in the evening.
Mr Thompson said: “Annan’s is one of the largest and most respected traditional summer celebrations in the South of Scotland and also attracts regular visitors from over the border in Cumbria.
“The massed bands in the evening, which also includes Annan Town (brass) Band, have become a major national attraction in recent years. A bands spectacular on this scale is difficult to find outside the big cities.”
The RoM stalwart described how the wide High Street with remarkable townscape including the Town Hall, which had remained little changed for centuries, combined with around 15 bands to create an inspirational and atmospheric setting.
One of the best displays of pipes and drums in Scotland with a guest band participating who will be making the trip all the way from Holland, emphasised the ROM’s continually growing success and popularity.
Mr Thompson is especially keen on emphasising family fun as part of ROM and is this year introducing a mini-Highland Games for children in the afternoon during the event, this year returning to Annan Academy playingfields.
He said: “What we want is as many children as possible to come along and partake.
“All the children taking part in the mini-Highland Games will be given an RoM medal and a goody bag courtesy of Aldi and Tesco.”
The individual that demonstrates the most endeavour throughout the afternoon will be awarded the Cumberland Building Society Endeavour Trophy, which will be presented on the day as well as a first prize of £70.
* KEY times during Riding of the Marches Day include: 6.30 am Reveille; 7.15 am official party ride along High Street; 7.30 am cavalcade sets off from Town Hall for march-riding; 11.45 am Cornet’s Chases on the Everholm; 12.15 pm procession begins (reaching High Street around 12.55pm); 2.00 pm RoM afternoon family event begins at Annan Academy playing fields; 5.00 pm Principals return Burgh Standard followed by trophy presentations; 5.45 pm massed pipe bands begin and 7.30 pm principals and massed bands march off along the street.

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