AROUND 200 primary school pupils from across the Borders took part in a Scottish Country Dancing event at Galashiels Academy to mark St Andrews Day.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society.

Chairman William Williams was invited to attend, and accompanied by with his wife Linda, he left his Dumfriesshire home before first light to be there.

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Six weeks earlier, dance teachers had taken classes at the schools to ensure the children knew the steps to the various reels.

Maureen Buckley taught the pupils of Balmoral Primary School, Patricia Murray did likewise at Burgh; as did Rhona Watson and Liz Brown at Glendinning.

Peeblesshire News: Members of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society and teachers at Galashiels AcademyMembers of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society and teachers at Galashiels Academy

Margaret McKendrick taught at Langlee and Marion Stirling put the Stow youngsters through their paces.

Geraldine Rowley did the honours at St Margaret’s as did Lyn Bryce at St Peter’s.

Elizabeth de Beate and Margaret Purves taught the Tweedbank pupils.

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Accordionist Sam Clelland provided the music and the youngsters danced for more than two hours.

Even an unexpected fire alarm which meant an evacuation of the hall didn’t dampen the enthusiasm.

Afterwards Mr Williams, resplendent in his kilt and official chain of office, handed out certificates to selected pupils from the schools.

He said: “The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society is exactly 100 years old this week and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than being here in the Scottish Borders.

“The society has 10,000 members throughout the world who do it for the whole of their lives until they are in their 80s or 90s.

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“I’d like to thank everyone who has been involved today from the local branch of the society at Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles.”

He then posed for selfies with numerous youngsters and allowed a few to try on the chain.

Bill Murray, chair of Roxburgh Selkirk and Peebles Branch, said: “I hope everyone had a great time and enjoyed the St Andrew’s Day ceilidh. A lot of people worked hard to organise this event and we need to thank them all.

“The Academy’s caretaker and kitchen staff, who helped set it up and provided tea and coffee; Lorraine and Laura from Tesco, who donated all the snacks and water; Ewan Lindores from Live Borders; our musician, Sam; all the schools and class teachers that helped in the practice sessions; all the volunteers who came along; RSCDS chairman Mr Williamson and his wife Linda; and all the ladies who volunteered to go into the schools and taught the dances for the last six weeks. A very special thank you to Mrs Buckley and Mrs Pritchard who organised the whole event.”

Afterwards, Margaret Purves, youth co-ordinator of the Roxburgh Selkirk and Peebles Branch, said: “It was a wonderful day and all the children enjoyed it.

“And having the chairmen of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Association there just added to the occasion.

“I’d also like to echo Bill Murray’s thanks to the people involved in organising the event.”