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Fiona flies the flag for women

A CENTURY of male-only tradition has been ended at a festival in the Borders.

Social worker Fiona Deacon became the first ever female standard bearer in the history of Selkirk Common Riding.

Each year seven men take part in the casting of the colours, a flag waving ceremony watched by thousands of people in the town's Market Square.

It dates back to the battle of Flodden in 1513 when just one man out of 80, called Fletcher, returned to the town where he raised a flag and cast it to the ground to mourn the loss of his townspeople.

But 2014 will be remembered when a woman took to the stage to cast the colours of the town's Ex-Soldiers Association.

Mother-of-two Mrs Deacon, 43, said: "It has been a roller-coaster of emotions for me. Not only being the first female but also being an ex-servicewoman and that was the main catalyst for me applying for the position.

"I want to thank the Ex-Soldiers Association committee for having the fortitude to elect me."

The break with tradition appears to have been unanimously endorsed in Selkirk.

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