On Friday 15th March, this year’s Whipman Festival principals were formally announced to an excited gathering in the Graham Institute. As always with the historic festivities in West Linton there is plenty to sing and dance about. And Friday evening’s entertainers were in great form.
The primary 3 to primary 7 pupils from Newlands, the dancers from Studio 21, and a touching rendition of On My Own from the hit musical Les Misérables by Doone Jeary made sure the night got off to an amazing start. The Ex-Whipman’s Lasses, with their gin-fuelled sketch Lasses Ruin, were hilarious. And the Ex-Whipmen’s take on the Greatest Showman was spectacular. Whipman Introduction Concert favourite Torcull Kennedy, accompanied by Veronika Appleford Divincová, treated the audience to an array of Scottish-themed favourites, including I’m Gonna Be (500 miles). The evening’s entertainment concluded with Dorothy Silver and Martin Hannan providing their own priceless take on Laurel and Hardy. Debs Armstrong, in her first outing as MC, made sure the evening went without a hitch. And everyone in the hall, including visiting principals from Innerleithen, Penicuik, Peebles, Biggar, Edinburgh, Lanark, Currie, Musselburgh and Gatehouse of Fleet, certainly enjoyed proceedings.
But the Whipman Play Introduction is about unveiling the principals for this year’s festival. It was down to newly appointed President of the Whipman Play Society, Alan Stewart, to formally welcome the 2019 Whipman Party to the stage. The Barony Herald for 2019 is 11-year-old Glenn Ross. Glenn has lived in Romanno Bridge all his life, with his mum, dad and older brother Aidan. He enjoys taking part in the Whipman events every year and is thrilled and honoured to be asked to be Barony Herald this year. Next to be announced was the 2019 Flower Girl, Jenna Kidd. Jenna will turn five during Whipman week, and she is beyond excited to be asked to be the Whipman Flower Girl. This year’s Presenting Lady was unveiled as Gladys Holliday. Gladys was born at Broomlee Cottage and has lived in the village all her life. She was Whipman’s Lass in 1961 alongside her husband Billy. Gladys is delighted to have been chosen as the Presenting Lady and is looking forward to another enjoyable Whipman week.
It was then down to Sheila Forsyth, Secretary of the Whipman Play Society, to read the minutes of the selection sub-committee and announce Guy Thorley and Delia Thorley as the Whipman and Lass Elect for 2019. Newly appointed Whipman Elect Guy said: “It came as a complete surprise when I received the phone call from the Chairman of the Whipman Play Society to invite me and my wife Delia to become the Whipman and Lass for 2019. “I had no idea I was in the running for such an honour. To be honest I went through every emotion as did Delia as we know how great a job Adrian and Fiona Jackson have done as the current Whipman and Lass in representing the community. We are now gearing up for a very busy year and I am focussing on my riding lessons having taken a break for nearly 30 years but as everyone says, it’s just like riding a bike, only faster and scarier.”
Whipman secretary Sheila, on behalf of the committee, thanked everyone who had helped make Introduction night such a success. She said: “We would like to thank everyone involved in both organising and taking part in Friday night’s Introduction Concert.”
Committee member Calum Murray, who was the 2014 Whipman, added: “It was an amazing night, enjoyed by everyone. “A lot of work goes into the Introduction Concert and a massive thank you must go to Jane Lethbridge who headed a team of organisers. We are all very excited about Whipman Week 2019 and would like to wish Guy and Delia Thorley best of luck in what’s sure to be an amazing summer for the couple.”
This year’s Whipman Week runs from Friday, May 31 – when Guy and Delia will be formally installed as Whipman and Lass for 2019 in the Lower Green Marquee – until Saturday, June 8. For more information on this year’s Principals and a full programme of events please visit www.whipman.com.