Gary Winning chosen as Lord Cornet Elect for 2018
Gary and his wife, Blythe, welcomed many well-wishers to their home on Sunday. Photo courtesy of John Prior
Gary Winning has been selected as this year’s Lord Cornet Elect.
The 38-year-old, who is the project manager of Discover Lanark, accepted the invitation to represent the Royal Burgh on Sunday afternoon.
Gary is married to Blythe, a local school teacher, and this year’s Lanimer Week will also have an added significance for the couple, as he explained: “This Marches Night will be exactly to the day 11 years that Blythe and I met – and her birthday is this Lanimer Day! I met my best friend in the world that night. We have lived together for nine of those years. We got married on 23rd December 2014. It has been quite a journey.”
Being asked to be Lord Cornet Elect was a massive shock for Gary, who was initially relaxing at home before welcoming many visitors and celebrating the good news.
“I was dozing on the couch and watching a film. I was chilling out, toying with the idea of going a run that night. I had all sorts of grand plans. Then the dog, Brèagha, started barking at the door and I went round to see John Dickman in his full regalia alongside Richard Paterson. I opened the door, said hello, and then they said ‘We are here on official business. Can we come in? We would like to ask you something.’ At this point I realised what was going on!
“It was totally surreal, and if I am honest it has not quite settled right in. I am feeling really honoured and privileged to have been picked.
“Thanks to everyone for all the support I have received and will ultimately receive, especially my wife and her family who are going to be huge rocks for me this year. Thank you for all of the kind comments and words I have received. It has been quite overwhelming.”
Gary attended Underbank Primary before moving to Lanark Grammar. He was an active member of Lanark ASC and also played for Lanark Rugby Club.
He moved abroad at the age of 21 to work in the travel and tourism industry for three-and-a-half years, and then had a spell living in Edinburgh. He returned home aged 26 and began working at The Clydesdale Inn, where he became an active member of the local community.
“I was working as a cleaner while I was a student at Glasgow University, studying Scottish history. I needed a job and the cleaning role suited my student schedule. I kept getting promoted up the ranks until I become manager two years later. That’s when I really started getting involved in the community of Lanark. I was one of the founder members of the Lanark Business Group, setting up events like Late Night Lanark which has bloomed into this huge Winter Parade.
“Being quite civic minded has come from my mum, she was a local councillor in the Clyde Valley for 12 years. She stood for the first Scottish Parliament in 1999. Giving back to the community, caring about the community and caring about where you live has always been important to me.”
Gary now has the challenge of learning the art of horse riding and is hoping to count on help close to home. “My wife is a very good horse rider, she represented Scotland at cross country horse riding. She will probably be my main point of tuition - if the marriage holds up to that!”
Gary is looking forward to a busy year in the town and being named as Lord Cornet Elect represents a new and exciting chapter in his life. “When I was younger I used to be the yes man, I would say yes to anything. I was always up for adventure, always up for experiences. I suppose with time and when you get older you kind of forget that a wee bit. You have got mortgages to pay, cars to pay and life gets serious. You start to become a no person and say no to things because you don’t want any more on your plate.
“This Hogmanay I said to myself ‘I am going to be a yes man. I am going to start saying yes to stuff and make memories again’. I made loads when I was younger, but I went out and found those memories to make. I decided I am going to start doing it again. I made this commitment to myself, when opportunities come up I would say yes. I am delighted that is the first one that came up.”