The Royal Burgh of Lanark Crest
Lanark Lanimers - One of Scotland's Oldest Traditions Lanimer Mascot - Larry Lanimer Mascot - Bonnie

An ancient celebration held within the Royal Burgh of Lanark on the Thursday between the Sixth and Twelfth days of June annually since the year 1140.

Lanimers? I've Seen Dozens of Them!

Last year I sat at the Cross for the first time, to watch the Procession and the Crowning. I like all the Lanimer traditions, and miss a lot that have disappeared.

I'm a Lanarkian through and through, and proud of it, from a family 'steeped' in Lanark and the Lanimers. The Donalds lived in Marchbank, at the Wellgatehead. I had two brothers, Jack and Jim. My sisters were Nan, Cissie, Net and Jean, and my mother, Mary Steel from Waterloo House, also fostered Dot from the age of three.

My Aunt Nan Steel was the Lanimer Queen, from the Burgh School, in 1902. The Steels lived at Baronald Cottage then. She was crowned by Doctor Kelly's wife and Hugh Dempster was the Lord Cornet. In 1939, she was asked to crown the Lanimer Queen, Annie Chapman from New Lanark. My Grandpa Steel was the Provost, and Aunt Nan walked behind him, as he took Queen Annie back to her car. Grandpa had on the new robes that were made for him. He wore them at the Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, in 1937. Grandpa and Aunt Nan also met Queen Elizabeth II, when she visited Lanark in Coronation year. Aunt Nan used to say, "I've been a queen, crowned a queen and met the Queen".

Grandpa was President of Lanark United, and I still follow Rangers! I was at Ibrox last December, with my great nephew, Alan Jackson. He was an Outrider in 1982. His brothers had been in the Court before him.

As a girl I was on Peggy Stevenson's lorries. I went to Miss Reidrs Her father wrote a book about the Lanimers. We wore white Panama hats with 'orange and biscuit' coloured ribbons. Dr Adams' daughters were there, and the Houldsworths of Castlebank's grand-daughters, a precocious pair. There was May Dickson and her brother, Charlie, the Stuarts from Cleghorn, the McGeoghans, and Adam Redpath, the police sergeant's son. We were quite a bunch!

If I wasn't in the procession I was with the family at the Wellgatehead, to watch the Lorries go up Hyndford Road. After the crowning, we watched the Queen, Court, and the As a girl I was on Peggy Ste\ school down Friar's Lane. Lord Cornets, coming back up, to give out the Lanimer Medals at the Grammar School in Hyndford Road. In the afternoon, we went to the Racecourse and watched my sister Jean, one of Peggy Stevenson's best Highland dancers. She usually came home with one trophy or another. She won competitions all over the place.

Many will remember my sister, Net, and the McDougall's factory Lorries. My brother Jack, and Archie Stevenson always helped to build the lorries. The rest of us weren't tall enough to do it all ourselves. Jean and I usually walked with Net. She went on 'til well after the War. I still see some of the folk who were on these, with their own lorries, keeping the Lanimers 'alive'. I like to think she helped give them that 'Lanimer spirit'.

One year, she got the First Prize ticket at the Cross and showed my mother as we passed her at the Wellgatehead. When we got back to the Cross, Net was told it was a mistake. She had to give back the First Prize ticket and take the Second Prize. We never found out why. Net wasn't one to dwell on things like that. She just let it all pass by without a fuss. The weans having a good time was all she wanted. She just loved the Procession and the Reception.

You know, when Lex, my husband, died nearly two years ago, I thought I couldn't face the Lanimers without him. For years he was the driver for the Stanmore lorries. Then that place at the Cross appeared, and I was coaxed. I had a lovely, sunny 2006 Lanimers. There was no racecourse visit, no medals at the school, no big 1 o'clock Procession with all the horses; but a picnic at Castlebank, watching all the people around me, as I sat in the shade. I wouldn't have missed it all for the world. There's nothing better for keeping you going than a sunny Lanimer Week that brings the 'auld toon' together.

This year? Well, I'm in my 89th year and hope to be back at the Cross to see this year's wee lassie crowned, as Aunt Nan was, 105 years ago. Mrs. (Helen) Nellie Young nee Donald.