Alexandria Burns Club
Saturday 23th January 2016
Guests and Artists (from left to right): Robert Ryan (President of Dumbarton Burns Club), Malcolm Gilmour Piper, David Carson, Jim O'Hare, David McDonald, Bryan Weir (President). Andrew Lockhart, Fergus McLellan (immediate Past President), Iain Gordon, Sandy Reddy, Ian Embelton (Vice President), Bill Kean. (Click Image to view in larger window)
This year's supper was attended by about 140 members and guests in the Alexandria Masonic. The top table guests were piped in by the piper o' the Vale, Malcolm Gilmour.
Chairman Bryan Weir welcomed everyone then the company observed a one minute silence for deceased members, John Edwardson, Jim Lawrie and Alan Duncan.
Our Caterer Robert Mills delivered the haggis, which was piped in by the Piper o' the Vale, Malcolm Gilmour. The chairman offered the Selkirk Grace before the address "To a Haggis", performed this year by club Vice President Ian Embelton.
The company then enjoyed another excellent meal from Robert Mills' team before the Chairman, Bryan Weir proposed the Loyal Toast.
Following a short interval the programmegot started with the The Immortal Memory, which was delivered this year by Bill Kean, a past president of Dumbarton Burns club. Bill chose to speak about Burns as a Christian this year in a well-researched and informative Immortal Memory.
Robert Ryan has become popular at our events during the last two or three years. An accomplished musician, Robert was our guest this year as President of Dumbarton Burns Club. He also entertained us in music and song.
John Barleycorn is usually a well-received toast when it features at our supper. This year we had Iain Gordon to deliver it. Iain is the secretary of Bridgeton Burns club, the largest Federated club in the world. He is also a member of the mother club in Greenock. Ian's toast was hilarious and much appreciated by members and guests.
Following Iain Gordon's toast our programme was to have included the very popular Andrew Gordon, our accordionist. Unfortunately a sudden illness forced Andrew to call off so we called on Jim O'Hare to entertain us with his harmonica. Once more Jim was excellent and an able replacement.
Sandy Reddy’s, Greenock Burns Club takes the title of the “Mither Club” - the first ever to hold a Burns supper. This took place in 1801 - just five years after the bard’s death. Tonight, Sandy did Tam O’Shanter for us. His excellent performance was word perfect and very entertaining.
David Carson filled our “Sangs and Clatter” spot ... without the sangs on this occasion. David is a very funny and entertaining speaker. His telephone call from Rabbie was both original and very funny.
After a second interval the evening restarted with Malcolm Glimour, the piper o' the Vale, entertaining us on his bagpipes. We enjoyed more music and song from Robert Ryan before our immediate Past President, Fergus McLellan, delivered the Toast to the Lasses. As always Fergus delivered in his own inimitable way.
Club member David McDonald was our next artist. David is a bowler, who has helped to organise the popular Vale of Leven Bowling club Burns Supper for many years. He is always popular with his wonderful interpretation of Willie Wastle. Judging by the audience reaction he was even better than usual on this occasion.
Our VP, Ian Embelton, had made his debut earlier in the evening with the Address to the Haggis. As the evening approached its close he now did a reading based on the "Death And Dying Words Of Poor Mailie", Burns's only pet yowe.
To conclude the formal programme David McDonald then proposed a very funny, Toast to the Artists.
The evening closed with club member Andrew Lockhart on keyboard, leading the company in the Star o' Rabbie Burns and Auld Lang Syne.
The date of the next St Andrews Night Dinner will be Friday 25th November in Vale of Leven Bowling Club. Next year’s supper will take place here on Saturday 28th January 2017. Thanks to everyone who assisted in making this another very successful evening.
(Photos by Tommy Gilmour.)