Custodian of a long and proud tradition

Provost Jim Carlin
Provost Jim Carlin

Jim Carlin is looking forward to his first time as Provost of the Deacons’ Court at this year’s Linlithgow Marches, although as he says himself he has known for a long time that this day would dawn.

Jim was first appointed a Deacon in 2003 and became a Bailie in 2008.

There is a defined structure by which bailies then progress up through the ranks to become a middle bailie, senior bailie and Provost. Jim will be the 14th person to take up the role wearing the morning suit and elegant red robes that go with the post.

He told the Journal and Gazette: “I am looking forward to it immensely although I know that the nerves will be jingling!”

Jim will wear the real Provost’s chain for the first time on the big day.

He said: “Although the Marches Day is the focal point and the day when Linlithgow can celebrate its heritage we are merely custodians of that heritage and this is really a working day for all of us.

‘‘There is still a tremendous appetite for the ancient celebrations these days.

‘‘There have been periods when that has waned but I think the ban on outdoor drinking has made it much more of a family day and we feel that recently support has increased.

‘‘The procession has become more orderly as a result and as we process up the street there are many children among the crowds. Of course they do get a day off school!”

Jim said: “I’m very honoured and privileged to have been elected by the members of the Deacons’ Court and so readily accepted by the people of Linlithgow who have supported me since my election in November 2014.”

“But this is all about more than just one day in June.

‘‘The court has a holiday in July and August but towards the end of September we become immersed in not only planning for the big day but also in raising the £35,000 needed to put them on.

‘‘We have 10 bands booked for this year and the cost of that will be almost £10,000.

‘‘The Marches takes place on a weekday and people need to be reimbursed properly. We also have the Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland this year.”

There are many occasions for the new Provost to show off his speechmaking skills beginning with the first toast at 5.30am when he and his wife, Vickie, welcome his first visitors, the flutes and drums, who will no doubt have woken everyone on their procession from the West Port along the High Street to his house on Clarendon Road. Speaking is not something which daunts the new Provost however as he is a solicitor of some years’ standing well-used to speaking at court on behalf of clients.

This year is important for the Carlin family as Jim also celebrates his 60th birthday in July and he and his wife Vicki will celebrate their silver wedding too.