Wait is over for Lanark's Lord Cornet elect

It's been a long wait for Lord Cornet elect Derek McGuinness but he’s looking forward immensely to this year’s Lanimer Week events.

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The wait is finally over for Lord Cornet elect Derek McGuinness to take his place in the history books.
The wait is finally over for Lord Cornet elect Derek McGuinness to take his place in the history books.

Derek (40) was selected in January 2020 … but he still remembers where he was when he found out.

The president of Lanark Rugby Club was in the middle of a captains versus presidents match at the Racecourse.

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He recalled: “One of the committee members had been sent to the racecourse to escort me home so that I could get the traditional knock on the door!

“Two weeks after the New Year and we ended up wining and dining around 70 or 80 former Lord Cornets. It definitely turned into quite a night but I was delighted to be selected – it’s an honour.”

Sadly, the pandemic meant that Derek had to cool his heels for two years but with Lanimers going ahead as normal now, he’s really looking forward to it.

He’s already well versed in the traditions, having taken part as a piper with Lanark and District Pipe Band in around ten processions.

And in 2017, Derek also served as a companion to the Lord Cornet Elect Iain Hughes. His companions will be close friends Craig Scott, Malcolm Scott and Riki White.

Derek’s wife Gail is also preparing for a very busy Lanimer Week and will be supported by her companion, Malcolm’s wife Jennifer.

The couple are delighted that Derek’s sister Jane (39) is making the journey from her home in New Zealand to see her big brother take his place in the town’s history books.

Derek said: “Due to family circumstances, her husband Tim couldn’t make the trip but they’d set aside a certain amount for flights so, as we speak, Jane is flying home first class with Emirates.

“She's been sending us WhatsApp and Messenger posts from the sky as she has wi-fi in first class – she’s having a ball!

“We last saw Jane five years ago when we went to New Zealand on holiday so it will be lovely to see her again and for her to celebrate Lanimers with us.”

Originally from Carluke, and educated at the town’s High Mill Primary and Carluke High School, Derek worked in recruitment for ten years before taking up his current post as an IT service manager.

He was nominated as Lord Cornet elect thanks to his ties with the town’s pipe band and rugby club.

Derek’s duties will begin on Sunday with the Kirkin’ of the Cornet – which will start a week-long whirlwind of activities.

He’s well prepared for the horse-riding though thanks to the current Lord Cornet Ian Douglas, who formed a riding group in 2016.

“I’m not a jockey but I can hold on well enough,” Derek joked. “I’ve taken part in a few previous Lanimer riding events and some of the common ridings too in the Borders.”

Derek is in little doubt what the highlight of his week will be.

He added: “The shifting of the Burgh Standard at the Cross on Monday night will definitely be up there, but I think the declaration is the thing I’m most looking forward to. The declaration has been made since 1140 so there’s a real sense of history.”