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Magazines offer a trip down RoM memory lane

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By Fiona Reid
Magazines offer a trip down RoM memory lane

STUART Thompson’s extensive collection of Annan Riding of the Marches programmes document how the event has changed over the years.

He has been amassing them since he was cornet in 1977 and now has a full series, with the exception of the 1979 booklet.

And he will be sharing them with Annandale Observer readers over the coming months, as the town builds up to this year’s festivities.

Stuart, who is ROM convenor, said: “There are only two or three complete sets within the Annandale and Eskdale district.

“I have been very fortunate as some have been donated from individuals and through perseverance and hard work I have been able to get this collection nearly finished over the last ten years.”

Explaining why he feels it’s important to share them, Stuart added: “Some of them are so magnificent, with amazing covers, that we need to let people see them with the content and some of the old pictures.”

The earliest programme in his collection is that of 1913, with its distinctive red front cover.

“It goes back to the days of the old town council,” explained Stuart. “It takes you a step back in time and you get to read what went on in those days and what was important in those days. What was important in bygone days is displayed in the magazine when life was at a slower pace. It was not as commercial then.

“Also, health and safety were not as big issues then as now, for example, the riders do not have hard hats on. It was a freer society in that way.”

He also notes the importance of the day to the town: “There was not the distractions of nowadays and it would be well looked forward to and was a pinnacle or highlight of everybody’s year.

“However, in the early days, Riding of the Marches was just held on special occasions, it did not have a set time or date, so it was held for the cobbling of Annan or royal occasions, for example.

“It was not until 1947 that it was decided to take the opportunity to hold it annually in July and that was probably in keeping with the school holidays.”

Stuart is still on the hunt for the missing 1979 programme and is confident he will be able to obtain it. Looking ahead, he plans to donate his full collection to the library in the future so it can be enjoyed by everyone.

He also reminded townsfolk that the museum is home to lots of RoM memorabilia, including sashes and past principals’ personal effects.

de *** Local Caption *** DETAILS . . . the frontispiece from 1913

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