2021 Common Riding

Hawick Common Riding 2021 – Statement, 22 January 2021

Hawick Common Riding Committee SCIO’s full ceremonial committee met virtually on Zoom yesterday evening, Thursday 21st January 2021, to discuss the 2021 Hawick Common Riding in relation to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Yesterday, the Committee received a written letter from Scottish Borders Council’s joint Acting Chief Executive, David Robertson. In that letter we were advised that:

❝ It can be anticipated that the Scottish Government’s Strategic framework setting out the 5 level protection tiers will continue to operate throughout 2021. The framework is very useful in providing guidance to event organisers on the controls that they need to operate within under each tier.

“It would appear that we would need to be in a level 0 tier or level 1 for consideration of any form of attended event, whether indoors or outdoors, to take place and there would be controls applied around both the numbers attending and the format. If we were in Level 2 and above then events are, generally, not permitted.

“The likelihood of a traditional Common Riding with mass gathering events in May and June would be extremely challenging, and unlikely given the controls you would need to operate in under the 5-tier system. However, the suggested format of a blend of small-scale attended events within the tier 0 and 1 guidelines and virtual events is a sensible proposal and the Safety Advisory Group (SAG) would be available to you to provide advice and guidance around any planning.

“It is too early at this stage to predict any changes to the controls within the 5-tier system as a consequence of the mass vaccination programme, but we are hopeful that as the programme advances then we may see more opportunities for events to take place later in the year. ❞

Hawick Common Riding Committee SCIO first and foremost must ensure the safety of all those participating in its events. Historically the Common Riding was based on the need to protect the townspeople and have taken the difficult, but it hopes you agree the responsible decision, to recommend that, for the second year running, Hawick Common Riding 2021 does not go ahead, in the interest of the whole community.

To this end it was felt unfair to elect a Cornet and Acting Father this year, when events would be severely curtailed.

As last year the Committee remain fully committed to marking the Common in some way at an appropriate time, when circumstances permit and will endeavour to deliver another Virtual Common Riding, which was greatly received by Teries the world over.

We hope that this decision will have the backing of the townsfolk.

Lesley Fraser, Secretary, Hawick Common Riding Committee SCIO