A COMPANY comprising 216 members and guests of Arbroath Burns Club attended the hugely popular annual Burns Supper in the Meadowbank on Friday evening.
They were welcomed by president Frank Ferguson to the supper to celebrate the birth of Scotland’s National Bard, Robert Burns.
The Immortal Memory was given by Wing Commander Mike Duguid, Dumfries.
He explained that his interest in Burns began when he was invited to attend the St Andrews Society of Nebraska while serving on a posting to the United States of America.
The Wing Commander is a man of wide interests. He was a member of the Burns Club of London, had cycled from Lands End to John O’Groats, is president of the Burns Club of Gatehouse of Fleet and is the past chairman of the Rotary Club of Kirkcudbright.
He stated that Burns had made three main contributions to Scotland - human dignity, Scottish language and Scottish literature.
He continued: “Human dignity should make the human race free from religious, social and political oppression. Burns satirised the church and its elders in Holy Wullie’s prayer, he espoused the dignity of man in ‘A man’s a man for a that’ and in ‘Scots wha hae’ he raised the game on political expression.”
The Wing Commander stressed that the Bard had to have his wits about him as he worked for the Customs and Excise and the time he wrote these poems as the French Revolution was in progress.
He continued: “He rescued the Scottish language from Anglicisation; Burns’ phrases are still used to this day.
“In literature, his poems’ language and epistles are genius. Burns was truly a great man.”
The president proposed a toast to the guest speaker and thanked Wing Commander Duguid on behalf of the club. He was presented with a quaich, a memento to his Immortal Memory.
Ken Smith treated the gathering to his unique rendition of ‘Tam 0 Shanter’ which was greeted with applause.
Past president Wullie Braid returned with an all-time favourite of Arbroath Burns Club, ‘Rabbie Doo’, a poem about a local artisan attending his first Burns Supper.
Colin MacDonald, Morpeth, gave the ‘Toast to the Lasses’. He remarked that 2011 was a year of anniversaries and major events in Arbroath: 200 years of the Bell Rock lighthouse; the Lichties winning their first ever league championship; and Arbroath finally getting an Asda store!
Mark Roberts, speaking for the first time before such a large audience, gave the reply. The ‘Selkirk Grace’ was given by committee member Andrew Welsh.
Dale Hatton gave the ‘Address to the Haggis’ which was carried in by Andrew Duncan and piped by Michael Thain. Michael also played ‘The Lament’ after the ‘Immortal Memory’.
The company was entertained to the songs of the Bard by Alan Mowatt, Jonathan Milne, Douglas Cant and Alec Whitton who were accompanied by Arthur Balfour on the piano and Ian Lamb on guitar.
John Swankie proposed a heartfelt vote of thanks to all who had performed on the evening and to Niall Milne and his staff for the provision of such an enjoyable meal.
Secretary Tony Treger advised that the next supper will be on January 25, 2013.