Club marks day Burns first journeyed south

Members and guests walk in procession to Coldstream Bridge led by pipers Rob Bell and Keith Guthrie with Kenny Brodie carrying the club standard.
Members and guests walk in procession to Coldstream Bridge led by pipers Rob Bell and Keith Guthrie with Kenny Brodie carrying the club standard.

More than 50 members of Coldstream Burns Club followed in the footsteps of poet Robert Burns by heading to the town’s Tweed Bridge in commemoration of the Bard of Ayrshire’s first step onto English soil in 1787.

The annual ceremony held on Sunday by the club, formed in 1888, was attended by representatives from nearby towns including James Hastie of Kelso Burns Club, principal guest for the day.

The club standard is lowered by Kenny Brodie as a lament is played by pipers Rob Bell and Keith Guthrie.

The club standard is lowered by Kenny Brodie as a lament is played by pipers Rob Bell and Keith Guthrie.

Also in attendance was this year’s Coldstreamer, Andrew Guthrie, installed alsmost a month ago, along with his right and left-hand men Stefan Home and Jamie Nicholson.

A plaque installed at the bridge by the club back in 1926 is a reminder of Burns’ visit to the town in the May of that year, when he walked over the bridge with his good friend Robert Ainslie from Duns.

As they did so, Burns, born in Alloway in 1759, recited the last stanza from his poem The Cotter’s Saturday Night.

Pipers Rob Bell and Keith Guthrie led the procession from the High Street’s Royal British Legion Club to the bridge.

Members and guests at the Craw Green where toasts are proposed to Robert Burns and Coldstream Burns Club.

Members and guests at the Craw Green where toasts are proposed to Robert Burns and Coldstream Burns Club.

Club chairman David Douglas then re-enacted part of Burns’ visit to Coldstream 230 years ago to the day by dropping down onto one knee.

Wreaths were placed next to the plaque, with Colin Gibson, senior vice-president for the Howff Club of Dumfries, and committee stalwart Will Murray putting down Coldstream’s.

The procession next retired to the Craw Green, where James Hastie delivered a speech before standard bearer Kenny Brodie lowered his flag.

Performances were then given by Rob Bell, Bobby Hanlon, Ian Buick, Davey Scott and James Bell.

On the bridge club Chairman David Douglas knelt on one knee and recited the last stanza of the Cottar's Saturday Night in the same manner that Burns did on crossing the bridge in 1787 to stand on English soil for the first time. Wreaths were then attached to the parapet beside the Burns plaque by club member Will Murray and Colin Gibson, Senior vice president of the Howff club, Dumfries.

On the bridge club Chairman David Douglas knelt on one knee and recited the last stanza of the Cottar's Saturday Night in the same manner that Burns did on crossing the bridge in 1787 to stand on English soil for the first time. Wreaths were then attached to the parapet beside the Burns plaque by club member Will Murray and Colin Gibson, Senior vice president of the Howff club, Dumfries.

John Elliott, the Coldstream club’s secretary, said: “The day was one of our most successful, with principal guest James Hastie delivering an excellent and well-crafted toast to the memory of the Bard and Isa Hanley following this with a complimentary toast to Coldstream Burns Club, which was extremely well received.

“On returning to the legion club after the ceremony, the impromptu entertainment was high in quality, which is not unusual considering the talent which exists within our own club, complemented by that of the visitors who contributed.”