Johnston family tradition continues with Rory

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Keeping a family tradition alive when he becomes the 56th Junior Jarl on Tuesday is Rory Johnston.

Rory, 13, is the third Johnston to be Junior Jarl: two of his uncles have also held the title – Michael Johnston in 1974 and brother Iain in 1985.

Rory said: “I’m really excited. I always wanted to be Junior Jarl, my granddad said he hoped I’d be Junior Jarl one day so it’s something I always wanted to do.”

In the years since Michael and Iain took on the role, there have been a few changes, however. When Michael was Jarl he was two years younger than Rory, as it was the primary seven boys who took part then.

There was one less primary school to visit, too, as Sound Prim­ary only opened in 1977, and he had a bit less work in preparing for the event as his squad’s suits were all donated, while for Iain it was a different story.

“We had to make everything ourselves, I think some over-enthu­siastic parent might have thought it was a good idea,” Iain said.

Luckily however Iain and his squad had help in making their props from Sandy Lamont and Davie Riddell, who made the helmets.

Rory and his squad have had to contend with making their kirtle, boots, shields and weapons but their hel­mets and sheepskins have all been donated.

He and his band of 14 guizers will take to the streets for the junior procession and the traditional visits to schools on Tues­day, before the night’s festivities begin.

He will have to keep some energy though as he will joining uncle Michael’s squad as a fiddle box carrier, which he said he was really looking forward to.

Asked whether he was nervous, Rory said: “I didn’t really think about it much until we had the photos done, but that got me really excited, I had to present a shield and all the parents were there, so I’m really looking forward to it now.”

Michael and Iain, who said they were “always proud of him, Junior Jarl or not” had some advice for their nephew. Iain said: “Just enjoy it. And speak clearly!”

Louise Thomason


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