Robert Burns

Alexandria Burns Club Annual Festival
Alexandria Masonic Temple

Saturday 27th January 2018

Burns supper top table

Guests and Artists (from left to right)
Rear: Drew Lawrie, Iain Walls, Rev. Ian Miller, Andrew Lockhart
Middle: Les Reynolds. Ian Embelton (President), Geoff De Pledge Pres. Dumbarton Burns Club, Malcolm Gilmour (Piper)
Front: David McDonald, Tommy Munley, Dr. Tom Barlow, Willie Kelly
(Click to view larger image)

Alexandria Burn s Club Top Table

Continuing the recent high attendances, 144 members and guests assembled this year in the Alexandria Masonic for our annual supper. The top table guests were piped in for the last time by Malcolm Gilmour. Malcolm has has announced his retirement. We would like to thank him for his many years of service to the Alexandria Burns Club.

PiperPiper Malcolm Gilmour

Chairman Ian Embelton welcomed everyone then the company observed a one minute silence for deceased members Jim McNiven, Alastair Thomson and Jim Lang.


Haggis arrives

The Haggis arrives

The haggis was ritually borne by Robert Mills of Venue Catering, accompanied by piper Malcolm Gilmour. The chairman offered the Selkirk Grace after the Address to the Haggis, which was delivered impeccably by club member Les Reynolds.

Address to the Haggis

Address to the Haggis by Les Reynolds


The company then enjoyed another excellent meal from Robert Mills' team before the Chairman, Ian Embelton proposed the Loyal Toast.


Immortal MemoryDavid McDonald

After enjoying the meal and a short "baurley" the Immortal Memory was presented by club member David McDonald. An experienced Burns performer, David has spoken at our events in the past but surprisingly, this was the first time he had done the Immortal Memory.

Seldom have I seen the company as attentive. David's toast was knowledgeable, different, entertaining, well researched and very well received.


Tommy MunleyTommy Munley

The first musical contribution was by new member Tommy Munley. Tommy has been around the local music scene probably for longer than he cares to remember. Locally he is known and respected for his prowess on the guitar. In recent years he has started performing folk and Burns Music. This was his first time entertaining us and he was excellent.

With slots in each half of the programme Tommy offered a great selection of Burns songs using his own clever arrangements, which showed his skill on the guitar. All of these were very much appreciated by the company. I am sure we will be seeing more of Tommy in future.


Iain Walls and John BarleycornIain Walls

The next artist was Iain Walls who proposed the toast to John Barleycorn. Iain is a club member who has spoken at our events in the past. His contributions are always a bit risqué but very, very funny and always guaranteed to entertain. Once again Iain's toast was very well received by the audience.


Sangs and Clatter with Willie Kelly

Sangs and Clatter with Willie Kelly

At Alexandria Burns Club we have been fortunate over the years to be able to call on some excellent entertainers. There is arguably none better than the inimitable Willie Kelly. Willie has been entertaining people with music and comedy for around 60 years and like good whisky, he seems to improve with age.

His contribution to our supper this year was great. He had the audience in stitches with his hilarious clatter from start to finish. We are indeed fortunate to have Willie as a member.


Ian Miller

Reverend Ian Miller

In the second part of the programme we were entertained with the Toast to the Lasses by the one and only Rev. Ian Miller.

A senior moment by a committee member caused a misunderstanding regarding the Toast that was to be delivered by the Rev. (sorry Ian). He had turned up expecting to be doing the Toast to John Barleycorn. Fortunately Ian lives nearby so a quick trip along the street was required to make some adjustments to his toast. It was no problem, Ian was in his usual great form and his toast was excellent.


Musician on keyboards

Andrew Lockhart

Andrew Lockhart has been a member of Alexandria Burns Club for many years. Andrew is one of our most versatile artists who is equally at home performing or accompanying on his keyboard, doing Tam O'Shanter, other readings or the Immortal Memory. This year he offered his usual flawless performance of a beautiful selection of Burns music on his keyboard.


Tam O'Shanter

Les Reynolds - Tam o'Shanter

Some people would argue that you cannot have a Burns Supper without a performance of Tam O'Shanter.

We called upon Les Reynolds to do it for us this year. Les has done "Tam" for us before and again his delivery was perfect and very much enjoyed by the company.


Tom Barlow

Dr. Tom Barlow

It's been a while since Dr. Tom Barlow performed for us. Tonight he did the "Epistle to a Young Friend". Like the other acts, Tom is also a club member. As a knowledgeable Burnsian his contributions are always thoughtful and very well received.


Vote of thanks

Drew Lawrie

As we approached the end of the evening it was time for the vote of thanks, which was delivered by Drew Laurie. Drew was making his debut and he did so effectively and efficiently. We shall be seeing more of Drew in future.

A very successful evening then closed with the company singing the Star o' Rabbie Burns and finally Auld Lang Syne.

It is worth mentioning that all the artists included in tonight's programme are members of Alexandria Burns Club, Number 2 in the Federation. We are indeed fortunate to have such an array of talent amongst our members.

Those of us who attend many Burns suppers are aware of the importance of good order while people are performing. An evening can be spoiled by the company being less than attentive so we should give a special mention to the company on the evening. They afforded the very best of order to our artists. The committee would like to thank all members and their guests for that. It is very much appreciated. Thanks also to everyone who assisted in planning and organising the event.

The St Andrew's Night dinner this year will take place on St Andrews day, Friday 30th November, in the Vale of Leven Bowling Club. Next year’s supper will take place in the Alexandria Masonic Temple on Saturday 27th January 2018


(Photos by Tom Gilmour.)


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