Coldstream Burns Club Ladies Night

Coldstream Burns Club held its annual Ladies Night Supper last Saturday in the British Legion Club.

As usual it was extremely well attended and an appreciative audience enjoyed an excellent meal and an evening of first class entertainment.

The club is once again indebted to Jim and Sheila Cockburn and the British Legion volunteers without whom an evening of such quality would not be possible.

Rob Smith in the chair for the umpteenth time remarked that the evening was becoming a victim of its own success with tickets, as in recent years, again at a premium. Following the ‘Selkirk Grace’ from the Rev David Taverner the proceedings got off to an impressive start with the arrival of the haggis piped in by Pipe Major Rob Bell and carried high by Jim Watson. The address was given by young David Cockburn, which he carried out with great gusto, setting the tone for the rest of the night.

The principal guest for the evening was Ronnie Fleming, a past president of Kelso Burns Club and well known amongst Coldstream members. Ronnie delivered an amusing yet historically enthralling Immortal Memory. He talked about Burns’ Border tour and linked his knowledge of the bard’s life story in with that of Sir Walter Scott, wrapping it up in an ‘easy to listen to’ speech which received a deserved standing ovation.

The lament which followed, played adeptly as usual by Rob Bell, rounded off nicely this initial part of the evening.

Proceedings were soon underway again with a foot tapping performance by an instrumental trio comprising Pat and Scott Turnbull on penny whistle and guitar respectively, along with young Cheryl Foreman on fiddle. Their melodic contribution to the evening’s entertainment was highly appreciated with all three showing confident musicianship which would grace any stage.

Lizzie Bell maintained the high standard with singing of superb quality. Her first number was beautifully sung without accompaniment and was followed by rapturous applause. Later in the evening she accompanied herself on piano, just to show her musical talent extends beyond singing.

Ian Buick, that consummate Burnsian, then delivered a word perfect, audience involving, not to mention atmospheric performance of ‘Tam o’Shanter’. Ian has performed exceptionally on many occasions at Coldstream and audience expectations are always high when he steps up. He did not disappoint on Saturday as evidenced by the applause.

The toast to the Lasses was delivered by David Anderson who had clearly put a great deal of effort into his hilarious and insightful speech. His acutely observed remarks on female traits had the company in stitches. Not to be outdone, wife Carole responded just as humorously on behalf of the lasses giving as good as she got and identifying just as many male traits. Both speakers drew a deserved ovation.

With Rob Cockburn also reciting, the audience had two of the best local reciters to entertain them. Rob performed the lesser known ‘Epistle to a young friend’ but its unfamiliarity to the audience did not detract from the quality of Rob’s recitation which was done with great feeling and rightly applauded.

Kenny Hilsley completed the musical contributions to the evening. Despite the fact that he lives in Dumfriesshire, Kenny has become a fixture at Coldstream Burns Club Suppers in recent years. On the evidence of Saturday night it is easy to see why, with a singing and guitar playing style all of his own which catches the imagination. He puts everything into the numbers he performs and his version of ‘The deil’s awa wi’ the exciseman’ is a particular audience favourite. Their reaction said it all.

Throughout the evening the audience had played their part, not only by giving the artistes the best of order but also by joining in the communal songs in wholehearted fashion. Piano accompaniment for these numbers was provided in a first class manner by Margaret Gudgeon, mother of Lizzie Bell - truly a musically talented family!

Rob Smith thanked all those who had made a contribution to the evening’s proceedings expressing the view that it had been one of the best Ladies Night’s in his experience with excellent speeches, a friendly atmosphere, a great audience, entertained by wholly local talent of the highest quality.

The evening drew to a close with vice chairman Fred Mitchell giving the vote of thanks to chairman Rob Smith for another excellent evening’s work followed by the assembled company joining the artistes in the traditional singing of ‘Auld Lang Syne’.