Kelso's People

Kelso Laddies

Freedom, Honour, Valour & Wisdom

In 1937, the combination of a Charities Parade, the Local Shopping week and the service for those who fell at Gallipoli resulted in the first Civic Week with a Kelso Laddie - Bobby Service. The Kelso Laddie now leads an annual cavalcade to Yetholm. The War Memorial, joint church service, and the Fancy Dress Parade are still key elements of the week.

Colour Bussing
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The proudest moment of a Kelso Laddie’s year in office is the colour bussing when he is presented with the town flag. It is preceded with the following words.

“In Peacetime and wartime men from Kelso have gone out to the four corners of the world in pursuit of their duty, and we symbolise our recognition of their deeds by our Kelso Laddie dipping the Town Flag to the North, South, East and West of Kelso Square.”

At each of these points a Lady Busser will tie a Blue or White Ribbon to the Standard. These four Ribbons bear one word each, Freedom, Honour, Valour and Wisdom.

Kelso Laddies have contributed to the world in many ways:

Military Service

Kelso Laddies served in all 3 of the armed services. The 1962 Kelso Laddie Angus Balden was the last Kelso Laddie called up for National Service.

Several served during the Second World War with the first Kelso Laddie Bobby Service serving in the desert campaign. Wat Landels was with the Parachute regiments that landed in Normandy, Wat bumped into local Butcher George Hap Wilson during the campaign but was captured later that day, he managed to escape a week later and return to his unit. Roger Fish was a Captain in ENSA.


Many of the Kelso Laddies have represented Kelso and their country.

In rugby, 1976 Kelso Laddie Eric Paxton gained Scottish caps against Ireland and Australia and was renowned world wide on the Sevens field winning many Borders Medals especially Melrose. He also played at the Hong Kong Sevens on several occasions reaching the Final in 1982 with the Scottish Border Club. He reached the semis in 1983 when the side lost to Fiji. 1959 Kelso Laddie Arthur Hastie, was the manager of the 1983 Scottish Border team in Hong Kong, and as an SRU member went on to manage the Scottish team which won the last 5 Nations Tournament. Arthur also managed a Scottish select to Zimbabwe and Scottish tours to Australia and South Africa.

1975 Laddie George Hinnigan coached Kelso Harlequins for several years and during that time they were voted the best youth team in Britain after winning the Scottish Youth Cup.


It has to be said that the majority of Ex Laddies still stay and work in Kelso in the Scottish Borders, two Ex Laddies from the 90’s have emigrated to Australia the last Derek Lauder in the spring of 2009 and Neil Cowe is now well established in Australia. Sandy Charters was one of the first to emigrate to the then named Rhodesia to run a tobacco farm. Bobby Service also spent time in Africa but returned to live in Yetholm.

List of Kelso Laddies

1937 RW Service 1980 Colin Henderson
1938 Rodger Fish Jnr 1981 Neil Hastie
1939 David W. Clow 1982 Graham Young
1946 Alex. Charters 1983 Colin Gibson
1947 Dickson Robb 1984 David Thomson
1948 David Brunton 1985 Scott Forbes
1949 David Gray 1986 Douglas Veitch
1950 David Weatherston 1987 Jim Henderson
1951 Adam Fairbairn 1988 Steven Dickson
1952 Walter Landels 1989 Douglas Harvey
1953 John Hume 1990 Derek Lauder
1954 Tom Laing 1991 Keith Riddell
1955 George McCombie 1992 Graham Sweenie
1956 Bert Nicholson 1993 Michael Ballantyne
1957 James Campbell 1994 Neil Cowe
1958 Peter Halley 1995 Chris Gillie
1959 Arthur Hastie 1996 Steven Scott
1960 Norman Hume 1997 David Stewart
1961 Jimmy Simpson 1998 Craig Scott
1962 Angus Balden 1999 David McKay
1963 Kenneth Ballantyne 2000 Darren Paxton
1964 Alastair C Neil 2001 No Kelso Laddie
1965 George Swanston 2002 Scott McKenzie
1966 Tom Fairley 2003 Mark Halliday
1967 Len Stevenson 2004 Ross Glendinning
1968 Jim Hogarth 2005 Kevin Wilson
1969 Ian Cleghorn 2006 Andrew Haig
1970 Dennis Poloczek 2007 Gareth Ford
1971 James Hinnigan 2008 Adrian Gajczak
1972 Derek Hall 2009 Robert Hogarth
1973 Michael Tait 2010 Murray Playfair
1974 Gordon Little 2011 Philip Hume
1975 George Hinnigan 2012 Callum Vickers
1976 Eric Paxton 2013 Calum thomson
1977 Colin Dumma 2014 Ross Henderson
1978 George Halliday 2015 Fraser Hastie
1979 Derek Wichary