Burns celebrations at Coldstream

David Shepherd addresses the haggis
David Shepherd addresses the haggis

Coldstream Burns Club celebrated its 130th anniversary last Saturday at the annual supper in the town’s British Legion Club.

The club, formed in 1888, has two celebrations: the Bard’s birthday on January 25; and his visit to the town, setting foot on English soil for the first time at Coldstream bridge in 1787.

Top table officials and speakers. Front Row, John Elliot [secretary]. David Douglas [Chairman] Benny Higgins. Back row, Rev. David Taverner, Davey Scott and Keith Guthrie

Top table officials and speakers. Front Row, John Elliot [secretary]. David Douglas [Chairman] Benny Higgins. Back row, Rev. David Taverner, Davey Scott and Keith Guthrie

The Burns night meal was preceded by the Selkirk Grace delivered by the Rev David Taverner.

A first-class table of traditional fare followed, prepared and served up by Sonia Martin and her assistants.

The entertainment got off to the best possible start with the arrival of the haggis carried high by Bobby Hanlon to the skirl of Rob Bell’s pipes and addressed by club member David Shepherd. This was David’s maiden public performance which he carried off excellently, bringing his own individual slant to the toast.

The toast to the Immortal Memory was proposed by Benny Higgins, chief executive officer of Tesco Bank who came highly recommended. He did not disappoint, delivering an outstanding toast without the use of any notes which brought a lengthy standing ovation from his audience. An Immortal Memory of the highest quality which held the attention of the company.

As always the singers and musicians were first class, receiving the best of order and the warmest of appreciation from the audience.

With Kenny Hilsley, Kenny Brodie, Rob Bell and Bobby Hanlon performing in their own accomplished individual styles, enjoyment was guaranteed. Perennial favourite Ken Pritchard provided impeccable piano accompaniment throughout the evening and club stalwart Rob Bell performed the piping duties in fine style.

The quality of the evening’s recitations matched that of the singers and musicians with Ian Buick, Rob Smith and Ronnie Fleming doing more than justice to their chosen poems.

Ian was in top form reciting ‘Tam O’ Shanter’ as only he can.

The popular ‘Willie Wastle’ was delivered in a highly amusing manner by Ronnie Fleming and Rob Smith put his own individual stamp on ‘William Stewart’.

The toast to ‘The toun’ was proposed by Keith Guthrie, a member of one of Coldstream’s oldest families, three generations of whom are members of the club and were represented at the supper.

In a speech laced with humour and anecdotes from his childhood, youth and adulthood, Keith easily passed the test at his first attempt at a Burns Supper toast.

The toast ‘To the Lasses’ was proposed by club favourite Davey Scott. Any speech by this talented man is guaranteed to have the audience in stitches but is also always laced with insightful comment and thought provoking content.

This toast was no exception and was received with much hilarity and a lengthy standing ovation.

At the conclusion of another highly enjoyable evening, Rob Smith in proposing the vote of thanks to David Douglas, pointed out the importance of a competent, efficient and at the same time respected chairman. He thanked David for measuring up to the task and conducting the evening in a wholly successful manner.

As usual, the members were in fine voice throughout and the evening closed with the customary rendition of ‘Auld Lang Syne’.