Lanark honour for SFRS officer

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South Lanarkshire firefighter is named the next lord cornet of the royal burgh.

SC Murdoch (Hamilton)

A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) officer has been appointed to an ancient post charged with defending the boundaries of the Royal Burgh of Lanark from hostile invasion.

Station Manager Davie Murdoch, who by day runs Hamilton Community Fire Station, was recently announced as this year’s lord cornet of Lanark.

As well as inspecting the burgh’s boundary markers – a duty laid down by King David I when he granted it royal status in 1140 – the lord cornet also plays a leading role as a civic ambassador.

During his term in office, this year’s lord cornet is determined not only to safeguard the burgh’s boundaries, but also to protect the burghers by helping to spread life-saving fire safety messages.

Davie, now lord cornet-elect, explained: “Lanark is a town where people genuinely care for those around them and that’s something firefighters know is vital to keeping vulnerable residents safe in their homes.

“When members of the selection committee dropped by to ask me to take on the role they were immediately followed by dozens of well-wishers, which just shows the great community spirit here.

“Most of us keep an eye on someone who could be at higher risk of experiencing a house fire and more of us than ever would consider taking action to make sure they get the support they need.

“Thousands of people in South Lanarkshire have already welcomed firefighters providing free home fire safety visits, but the public’s help is essential to successfully reaching those who are most at risk.

“To be made lord cornet is a great platform to help the whole community and I’ll certainly be using my time in post to make sure our residents can access advice and support to prevent fire tragedies.”

Chosen by a selection committee including Lanark’s elected members of South Lanarkshire Council and representatives of the royal burgh’s own community council, the post is traditionally conferred on a resident who has made a strong contribution to the town.

Having spent 18 years as a firefighter serving mostly in South Lanarkshire, Davie is also well known in the burgh for his 30 years as a piper with the Lanark & District Pipe Band.

Currently its pipe major, he led the band to a second-place finish in the World Pipe Band Championships and two Cowal Championship wins.

Davie added: “It was an incredible surprise to be picked as lord cornet and obviously I’m thrilled to accept the role.

“The list of lords cornet stretches back hundreds of years and includes some great names from our town, so it’s a real honour and I’ll do my best to make the community proud.”

“Friends and neighbours have been incredibly generous and I’m very grateful for their backing.”

The ceremonial duty of inspecting the boundary stones is carried out every June, with the lord cornet riding on horseback to ensure the burgh’s territory is secure over two nights leading up to ‘Lanimer Day’.

Everyone can take action to keep their communities secure by helping SFRS reach those most at risk of experiencing a fire within the home.

People throughout the country have already signed-up to Join Scotland’s Fight Against Fire and SFRS crews have conducted more than 56,000 free home fire safety visits in the past year.

The visits provide welcome reassurance to residents and see firefighters share expert tips to reduce the chance of fire starting and give people time to get to safety if fire does strike.

Further information is available at www.firescotland.gov.uk or by calling the freephone number 0800 0731 999.

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