The Special Burns Supper - Saturday 24 January
in the Masonic Temple, Alexandria.
The 250th Anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns
The 125th Anniversary of the Alexandria Burns Club
Our Burns Supper for 2009 was held in the Masonic Temple in Alexandria on Saturday evening 24th January with outgoing president, Ian Collins in the chair. Once again it was a sellout with a total of 159 members, guests and artistes.
This year's supper was a bit special in that it was both the 250th anniversary of the Bard's birth and 125 years since our own club was founded in 1884.
The occasion was marked by giving each member a specially struck lapel badge, a special edition 2009 Burns Diary and a miniature of Loch Lomond single malt whisky. Robert Mills of Venue Caterers marked the occasion by sponsoring the top table and he also provided special commemorative place mats for the members to keep as mementos.
Images taken before the start of the program
(Click the thumbnail images to display the larger images)
The evening got under way in traditional fashion with the arrival of "the beast" accompanied by our piper for the evening, Malcolm Gilmour. A new face at our supper, John Proctor, provided an excellent address to the haggis before it was ritually slain. The chairman then delivered the Selkirk Grace. After an enjoyable meal we had the Loyal Toast followed by some words to mark the occasion from our caterer Robert Mills.
An interval followed before the programme got under way with the Immortal Memory from the Reverend Ian Miller. Being a special year it was quite clear that Ian had gone the extra mile to ensure that this was a unique speech. It asked questions about Burns' morals and examined these in detail. The Reverend Miller made the case for the defence with the prosecution being led by Andrew Lockhart and Fergus McLellan in the guise of the Reverend William "Daddy" Auld. Mike Taylor also contributed to a unique and entertaining "memory".
Following this Bob Harvey got us started with the music for the evening in his own inimitable way with his first of two spots singing his selected songs. Our own "Bard of the Vale", Duncan McLean then entertained us with his "reflections".
Eddie Gaughan made his usual great job of the "Address to the Unco Guid" fully prepared with his own Cutty Stool. He later gave us his excellent rendition of "Tam o' Shanter". If there are any better in the area at Tam o' Shanter I have yet to hear them.
Doctor Tom Barlow then presented his excellent "Mournfu Tale" followed by an entertaining and informed toast to John Barleycorn by Fergus McLellan. John Proctor was up again next with "Willie Wastle" followed by Jim Irwin with a selection of songs. The aforementioned Tale of Tam from Eddie took us up to our second interval.
Malcolm Gilmour our piper opened the final part of the programmewith some stirring pipe music. A presentation was then made to our outgoing president, Ian Collins. Gifts were presented by one of our younger members, Gary Weir and, dare I say it, one of the elders, John Wood. John is of course a past president himself having been in the chair in 1985 and from 87 until 92.
The ever popular "Holy Willie" was then reincarnated by Mike Taylor resplendent in his scarlet nightshirt and cap. Whether either Daddy Auld or Willie Fisher would have approved of the colour is a matter for conjecture but it was a very entertaining performance from Mike. The question remains, where did he get the night shirt? Edward's at the fountain has been shut for years.
More songs from Bob Harvey were followed by the Rev. Donald Campbell (more reverends in this report than you can shake a stick at!) who gave us his very well received version of the toast to "The Lasses". Walter Sneddon did the "Epistle to a young friend" followed by more songs from Jim Irwin before Harry Summers competed the programme with his toast to the artists. At this point outgoing president Ian Collins handed over the presidency and chain of office to Harry. We wish him well during his time as president.
The evening concluded after midnight. It is worth commenting on the excellent order during the evening. Because of the special extended programmethe evening commenced at 6pm for 6.30pm. This was very long evening and many refreshments were consumed. The audience is to be commended for their attention throughout the evening.