THE 2019 Honest Lad Aidan Maguire and Honest Lass Claire Dougal are ready to take up their official duties as the town prepares for this year’s Musselburgh Festival.

A large crowd, including representatives from the Border towns, gathered to hear the election announcement, which was made from the outside balcony at The Brunton at about 9pm on Friday.

The new Honest Lad and Honest Lass were presented with their medals of office by this year’s sasher PC Dougie Smith, youth community officer.

The announcement followed a public election earlier in the day, prior to which the only other candidate for Honest Lad, Michael Morrison, was disbarred from standing due to a pending court case for allegedly using a car without insurance.

Aidan, 20, and Claire, 23, who was an attendant last year, made their way to an open carriage and, along with the attendant for 2019 Abbie Thomson, 22 – who had stood as an Honest Lass candidate – they were piped through the town by the Boys’ Brigade Pipe Band. Volunteers from Musselburgh Sea Cadets had the honour of pulling the carriage.

The official party then made its way to Musselburgh Rugby Club to join well-wishers. In keeping with tradition, they danced an eightsome reel with support from 25th anniversary Attendants Carol Colville and David Banks, and Past Attendant Kier Robinson.

Aidan was a pupil at Loretto RC Primary School in Musselburgh before attending St David’s High School in Dalkeith. On leaving school, he was appointed as an apprentice with Slight Joinery Ltd.

Claire was born and brought up in Whitecraig, attending Whitecraig Primary and Musselburgh Grammar Schools. She works at Pinkie Farm Shop as a general assistant and has been a member of Musselburgh Crusaders Riding Club since she was 10 years old.

Abbie, who attended Campie Primary School and Musselburgh Grammar School, is currently in her final year studying BSc (Hons) Applied Animal Science at Scotland’s Rural University College and she is due to graduate in July.

They will lead the Musselburgh Festival which runs from July 20 to 28 with a range of events for all the family on offer as well as traditional favourites such as the sashing of the Honest Lad and Lass, and ever-popular Crusaders Chase.

Stefanie Talac, secretary of the Honest Toun’s Association, said: “Now that the election has been run and our official party is in place, the committee will be focussing on festival week itself.

"We have a few changes to the week following feedback in 2018. This year will see the kirkin move back to 11am in St Michael’s with the sashing taking place at approximately 1.30pm at the Mall.

“Our Family Fun Day will now be on Saturday, July 27, in Pinkie St Peter’s playing fields. This event was a huge success last year and we wish to build on that. Lewisvale proved to be constrictive in size and, due to the vast number of families who attended, we felt that a bigger space was necessary for safety.”

She added: “The Saturday is also festival day which we wish to make a focus for the town’s celebrations. The treasure hunt which has previously taken place on the Monday will now take place on the Wednesday morning.

“These moves look to ensure that we still have family friendly events spread over the week and allow the official party to attend these as well as the various visits to nurseries, care homes and local businesses throughout the week.

"Festival week will run from Saturday, July 20, until Sunday, July 28, with a wide variety of events to hopefully suit everyone.”