Arbroath Burns Club supper

The haggis is piped out by Piper Mike Thain; the haggis bearer is Maurice Forbes Szatan.
The haggis is piped out by Piper Mike Thain; the haggis bearer is Maurice Forbes Szatan.

President Alan Mowatt, in his first supper as president, welcomed more than 200 Members and guests to the Arbroath Burns Club for the 258th anniversary of the birth of our Bard.

It was celebrated at the Meadowbank Inn on Friday.

The evening marked the 25th occasion on which the Meadowbank had hosted the prestigious supper.

In welcoming his top table president Alan made particular mention of his pleasure in welcoming Don Clark, the club’s head croupier, who was demitting office after many years service.

Alan thanked Don of behalf of the committee and the club members for his stalwart dedication during his tenure which was reflected in the smooth running of numerous suppers.

Alan also wished David Ferguson well in succeeding Don as head croupier.

The Immortal Memory was proposed by well-known Red LichtieDavid Ramsay, now a resident of Catterline.

Mr Ramsay narrated the life story of the Bard tracing this initially thorough the Burness family connection with the Mearns.

He was convinced of the massive influence of Burn’s parents and the education provided by Burn’s tutor Mr Murdoch. His genius emanated from these influences.

Burn’s fame in Edinburgh lasted only 22weeks and thereafter though he strove hard to provide for his family.

His poor health continued to deteriorate and he died in a torment of poverty and anguish on July 21, 1796.

He considered that the Bard’s life had five elements - the poet, the songsmith, the conversationalist, the man and the legacy.

As a poet Burns reflects us in the brightest of lights.

As a songsmith he amassed a wonderous collection of songs of Scotland.

As a conversationalist, which Mr Ramsay reckoned was one of his greatest gifts, Burns swept the Duchess of Gordon off her feet.

As a man, Burns lived his life like the proverbial candle in the wind.

Perhaps most importantly, Burns’ legacy is everywhere but perhaps it is very substantially, about his humanity.

Mr Ramsay also recounted the local legacy of the Bard with his geographical connection to Arbroath and Auchmithie.

In his travels Burns most probably passed within two or three hundred yards of where the Meadowbank now stands.

Mr Ramsay sat down to great ovation from members and guests.

President Alan presented the principal speaker with an engraved quaich as a momento of his visit to the club.

The Toast to the Lasses was in the hands of another new supper guest rchie Gilbert from Carluke.

A landscape gardener of note and a keen horseman in showjumping and point to point circles, but also a wonderfully gifted speaker, Archie enthralled the audience with hilarious stories laced with both wit and experience of life.

He also reminded everyone, as had the principal speaker, of the influence of Agnes Brown, Burn’s mother and also of the influence of his own mother in his own life. His mother was now in her 103rd year. Pathos and laughter a superb combination.

The task of replying to the Toast to the Lasses was performed in his own style by well-known local farmer Charles Hay from Raesmill Inverkeilor. Charles performed his task on behalf of the Lasses with aplomb and was rewarded with warm applause from the assembled company.

The Selkirk grace which commenced the Supper was given by new vice president John Knox and the Address to the Haggis was delivered expertly and with his usual enthusiasm, inimitably by past president and club secretary Peter Black. Vice-President John Knox gave details of the club’s intimations and confirmed that he had as usual received and exchanged greetings with Burns clubs all over the world.

Recitations during the evening were ably performed by past presidents Ken Smith, who gave the company Rabbie Doo, and Frank Ferguson who gave his heartfelt rendition of To a Mouse. New guest to the Club James Smith presided over the tale of Tam O’Shanter with his energetic and brilliantly composed version which enthralled the audience.

The night’s musical offerings were provided by Alec Whitton, John Hayes and Jonathan Milne, ably supported by accompanist Sandy Yule and piper Michael Thain.

President Alan opened the main part of the aupper with acapella rendering of a Man’s a Man when you could have heard a pin drop.

The beastie was borne by club member M. Forbes Szatan and in his well judged vote of thanks club member Phillip Manson rounded off a packed evening of entertainment in style by thanking all those who had contributed to the night’s enjoyment and paid tribute to the first class meal and service provided by the staff of the Meadowbank Inn.

And each took off his several way, resolved to meet some other day.