SHE was more than 4,000 miles away in the United States when she learned that she would be leading her village’s summer festivities.

Holly McKenzie was enjoying a sunshine holiday with her grandmother and great-grandmother in Orlando, Florida when she was told that she would be the Walkerburn Festival Lass.

“I had an idea that something was going to happen as I’d just received congratulations from one of my friends when my dad Steven phoned me in my hotel room to give me the news,” she said.

Holly, 12, is in the final year at Walkerburn Primary School and lives in the village with her mum Karen, six-year-old sister Ruby, and brothers Finlay, four, and 14-month-old Oliver. The family moved from Newcastleton last year.

“I wasn’t expecting this at all and I’m hoping I won’t panic too much when I have to carry out all my tasks - it’s a big responsibility and it’s exciting looking forward to all the parades and concerts,” she said.

Holly’s P7 classmate Poppy Moffat also has an important role to play in the Festival as the Essay Winner.

“I’ve been in Walkerburn all my life and I wrote about the history of my village for my essay,” said the 11-year-old who lives with parents Sarah and John and three pet rabbits.

“I’ve taken an interest in the Festival every year - I like to get involved in the concerts and other activities during the week.” The Walkerburn Summer Festival begins on Sunday, June 21 with a church service at 11am in the Village Hall and finishes with a Boat Race on Sunday, June 28.

Holly’s first duty will be laying the wreath at the village memorial after the church service. On Monday, June 22 there is a procession from Walkerburn School led by the Lass and a piper to the public for the initiation ceremony when Holly will receive her sash.