Marches Memories from Dot Jamieson - My time as the Lady Provost
My husband, Bruce, was elected Provost on the 11th of February, 2003 and held the post for three Marches. Like it or not (and the Provost’s wife has no choice in the matter) I suddenly found myself as Lady Provost. This entailed accompanying Bruce to many events where he was invited as Linlithgow’s First Citizen, proudly representing the royal burgh. Over his term of office, Bruce was asked to well over 60 events, in addition to attending many meetings of the Deacons Court and other organisations. I was included in many of the invitations - to Lanark, to Bo’ness, to Hawick, to our twin town in France and Guyancourt’s twin town in Germany and to the Royal Garden Party at Holyroodhouse – where I was reprimanded by a member of the Royal Company of Archers for standing on a chair to get a better view of the royal family!
I enjoyed the many wonderful occasions we spent together as Provost and Lady Provost, including wine tastings, concerts and shows; dinners, balls, dances, LAMP performances; Race Nights; Musical Concerts, street fairs; cheese and wine evenings; Advent Fair parades, Prize Bingo sessions, Canal Rallies; Fun Days and fetes, quiz competitions and Beatings of the Retreat.
I was never very confident at being up-front at these events (Bruce did the talking) but I was there to support him, draw umpteen raffle tickets; judge cakes and babies; sing along at Folk Nights and Lithca Lore happenings etc.
Bruce was asked to speak at many Burns Suppers and formal dinners and I often got to go along and enjoy the fun and the friendship.
Certain events stick in my mind, for example when we attended a William Wallace Commemoration in Lanark - surrounded by scores of wild Highlanders and when Bruce was stopped at French customs and asked to explain the presence of a heavy, silver chain in his hand luggage! I had visions of it being confiscated!
I loved Lanimer Days in Lanark - judging floats and meeting interesting people including John Buchan’s daughter and Anita Manning. And I had to do my share of organising events myself - such as the post Marches “Sherry Party” and the annual fashion show where I had Miss Scotland, Lois Weatherup, as one of my models. She was stunning!
I enjoyed Gala Day and travelling in a trailer along the town - something which I never got to do on Marches Days, except the one where I joined the family at Bruce’s invitation. I spoke at the 2005 Linlithgow and Linlithgow Bridge Gala Day – before crowning Queen Meg on a lovely sunny day on the Peel.
One highlight of Marches Day was when I got to present the prizes on the steps of the Burgh Halls. I loved the Marches so much that the year after I ceased to be Lady Provost, I organised some family members to dress up as the Von Trapp family from “The Sound of Music”, parading and singing along the High Street, accompanied by my 80-year-old aunt dressed as a nun. And we won two trophies! All in all, it was a hugely busy but most enjoyable three years.