Border town strips top citizen of title

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By Hannah Ewan

 

Steve Bell is the first Coldstreamer to be desashed by town officials (Picture by Mick Knapton)

A SCOTTISH town has stripped its top citizen of his title following a bitter row with his father.

Steve Bell was given the honour of “Coldstreamer” by the Scottish Borders community in April, giving him top billing a civic events.

But the 32-year-old has become the first person in Coldstream’s history to be deposed after an allegation of misconduct – made by his own father.

The details of the spat are a closely guarded secret in the town, but James Bell made an official complaint about his son following an event in September.

After worthies met to discuss the issue, Steve Bell was deposed as Coldstreamer and his father resigned as chairman of the Presenting Coldstream Association.

The father and son both work as plumbers and Mr Bell Snr is a former Coldstreamer, holding the title in 1976.

The position is an honorary one, and comes with duties that include leading the annual Coldstream Week and representing the town at solemn events including the November Remembrance ceremony.

Steve Bell was sashed as 2011 Coldstreamer in April, in a ceremony that marked the 60th anniversary of Coldstream Civic Week.

Regret

Vice chair of the committee Martin Brims said the unprecedented step to sack their Coldstreamer had not been taken lightly.

He said: “It is with regret that after careful consideration and full discussion within the Presenting Coldstream Association Committee, the committee has taken the decision to withdraw the office of Coldstreamer from the 2011 Coldstreamer, Steven Bell.”

“This decision to dismiss the Coldstreamer was taken in response to a complaint of misconduct.”

It is a far cry from the announcements made in April, when James Bell told the crowd gathered to witness his son’s sashing: “Steven, it’s your time to be proud.

“Like his father he is proud of his country, proud of his town and proud of his family,” Mr Bell said at the ceremony.

Approached today (Thu), Mr Bell said he would only confirm when the incident happened, but could not yet talk about it.

“It’s too difficult,” he said. “I cannot put it into words.”

James Bell told his local paper: “It was Presenting Coldstream Association’s committee that made the decision to remove Steven.

“I had tendered my resignation prior to that meeting and was not involved in their decision so I cannot comment on it.”

The committee now face the task of appointing a replacement to lay a wreath at Coldstream war memorial during the Remembrance ceremony on Sunday 13 November.