Coldstream Burns Club celebrated its 126th anniversary last Saturday, marking the annual celebration of the birth of Scotland’s bard.
Chairman Rob Smith got proceedings underway and the Selkirk Grace was delivered by Rev David Taverner prior to the arrival of the haggis carried high by Bobby Hanlon to the skirl of Rob Bell’s pipes and addressed by Dick Wood who was in the best of form.
In his annual report, secretary John Elliot advised that the club was in good health with membership standing at 142 and gave a resume of club’s activities over the year, ending with the customary toast to “Burns Clubs the world o’er”.
The ‘Immortal Memory’ was given by Ronnie Fleming, a past president of the Kelso Club, He took his audience through Burns’s life by relating it to the different people who had been a major influence along the way: contemporary poet Robert Ferguson; his lawyer friend Gavin Hamilton; and James, Lord Glencairn.
This innovative approach to Burns’s story received loud applause and was followed by a lament played by Rob Bell.
As always the singers and musicians were of the highest quality. The ‘Three Pipers’, Rob Bell, Duncan Bell and Keith Guthrie kicked off the musical entertainment with a version of the Irish folk tune ‘She walks through the fair’ followed by a rousing medley of tunes expertly performed.
Bobby Hanlon was in fine voice, singing favourites such as ‘Ye banks and braes’ and ‘Red, red rose’, accompanied by Ken Pritchard on piano, who also provided the accompaniment for the singing throughout the evening. The two Kennys, Brodie and Hilsley, are now firm favourites and performed three songs to a very high standard.
The first recitation of the evening came from Ian Buick with a flamboyant performance of ‘To a louse’; and the perennial favourite ‘Willie Wastle’ was recited by stalwart James Bell in his customary demonstrative manner.
A highlight of the evening was the recitation of ‘Tam o’Shanter’ by Ian Buick, who also acted out the whole tale.
The toast to ‘The toun’ was proposed by John Greenwell who delivered an amusing and entertaining speech as a fairly new arrival in Coldstream; and the toast ‘To the lasses’ was proposed by Russell Kirk.
Dave Anderson thanked Rob Smith for his masterful performance in the chair. and Rob thanked everyone for their contributions.
As usual members were in fine voice and the evening closed with ‘Auld Land Syne’.