Two stalwarts of Whuppity Scoorie are set to retire this year

​A tradition unique to Lanark is all set to say goodbye to two of it’s longest serving volunteers.
Linda Chapman pictured alongside Tom Yates and Margo who are both retiring this year.Linda Chapman pictured alongside Tom Yates and Margo who are both retiring this year.
Linda Chapman pictured alongside Tom Yates and Margo who are both retiring this year.

Whuppity Scoorie, the exact origins and age of this custom is mired in time and unfortunately never likely to be conclusively proven, although believed to date back to the 1890s. Held on the 1st March each year the modern version comprises of a large group of young children gathering at the foot of the Town Steeple at 6pm.

Each child is equipped with a ball of paper on the end of a length of string. On the first stroke of the small bell, which has lain silent since the end of the previous autumn, the children run three times (clockwise) around the church swinging the balls of paper over their heads. After the completion of the run there is a scramble for small change.

Two of the town’s stalwarts, Margo Yates and her husband Tom are retiring from Whuppity Scoorie on 1st March this year.

Margo joined the Community Council, who organise the event, 20 years ago as the Lanark in Bloom representative.

Whuppity Scoorie has, during the period of Margo’s involvement had a few modern "tweaks" added prompted by the children.

After a "heated debate" at the Community Council meeting on Monday night it looks like this could be the last year of the decorated ball competition and prize money, chocolate coins & Whuppity Scoorie stickers.

The council were introduced to Susan Girvan who offered to take over from Margo who received her award from the Community Council for her work with Whuppity Scoorie.

The three prize winners will be chosen after the Six o'clock Bell goes and after the children have completed their three laps around St Nicholas Church.

Margo along with Linda Chapman have taught the Whuppity Scoorie song to all the local primary schools and nurseries at some point over the years.

Margo’s husband Tom is retiring this year after helping at the Cross for the last 12 years.

The couple celebrate their wedding anniversary on 14th Feb.