Last Friday saw the members of Whithorn and District Burns Club gathered once more at the Monreith Arms Hotel, Port William, to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of Scotland’s national poet. Chairman Robin Kinnear welcomed the assembled company and noted with sadness the passing of two stalwart members, Brian Allan and John McTurk, during the past year.
The haggis, carried aloft in style by Norman Gerrish, was piped in and addressed by Cameron Stewart to applause, and subsequent enjoyment.
An excellent meal of traditional fare was followed by a toast to the Queen and Royal Family, and the National Anthem. In his president’s address the chairman said that he had organised his spectacles, hearing aid and denture cement for a group visit to Burns’ birthplace and the new Land of Burns centre the day before, followed by the James Collection at the Dick Institute in Kilmarnock. In doing so he was in company with countless people across the globe celebrating Burns’ anniversary.
The proceeds from the evening’s raffle would continue to fund Burns studies in local schools. In this, his 18th and last year as chairman, Robin expressed his thanks to the numerous distinguished speakers who had supported the Club, the croupiers who gathered funds and his ever supportive audience of Club members.
He then introduced Graham Bell MRCVS, a son of Mochrum Parish and graduate of the Glasgow School of Veterinary Medicine, now at the Stewartry Veterinary Centre. He is Chairman of Castle Douglas Burns Club but made time to propose the “Immortal Memory” in his home county.
The Chairman congratulated Graham on an entertaining and informative Immortal Memory and presented him with a certificate of honorary membership of the club. Music was provided throughout the evening by “The String Trio” Stewart, David and Andy with piano accompanist Eric Wilson.
Guest George Davidson recited (and performed) “Holy Willie’s Prayer”, and also sang “Bonnie Wee Thing” solo and unaccompanied.
The Toast to the Lassies was proposed by George Henry. George is an Edinburgh lawyer and a past president of the Edinburgh Bar Association.
Michael Marshall was eloquent and comprehensive in proposing the toast to Mine Host, Chairman, Croupiers and Artistes, mentioning all by name plus numerous others whose unseen work makes the Club what it is. Rory Christie replied graciously.
Robin Kinnear’s final task as President and Chairman was to call on Rory Christie to assume these roles and accept the sash and medallion of office. He knew he was placing the Club in safe hands as Rory had deputised for him on several occasions.
Rory then presented Robin with a gift of whisky and an engraved decanter in recognition of his coming to the rescue of the club eighteen years ago, taking it from strength to strength and making it one of the best in the country
The evening ended as always with the singing of Auld Lang Syne.