Coldstream Burns Club’s annual Tweed Bridge Ceremony on Sunday commemorated Robert Burns’ visit on May 7, 1787, when he crossed over the bridge and stood on English soil for the first time.
The ceremony was attended by 50 members and guests including Benny Higgins from Crailing, Jedburgh, principal guest for the day, and Coldstreamer Jono Wallis with his right and left hand men Chris Lyons and Stefan Home.
The members and guests led by pipers Rob Bell and Keith Guthrie set off in procession from the RBLS Coldstream Club to the bridge where they gathered around the plaque placed on the west parapet by the club in 1926.
David Douglas, club chairman, reminded everyone of the story of Burns’ visit to Coldstream and then, as Burns had done 232 years ago, he dropped on one knee before reciting the last stanza from Burns’ famous poem ‘The Cotter’s Saturday Night’.
Wreaths were then attached to the parapet alongside the plaque by John Elliot, Coldstream secretary and Bill Graham president of the Howff Club of Dumfries.
The company returned to the town to continue the formalities in Henderson Park. Guests from Eyemouth, Whiteaddder, Hawick, Duns, Kelso, Tranent, Dumfries and Falkirk Burns Clubs as well as Coldstream members, heard chairman David Douglas introduce Benny Higgins, who currently heads up the new Scottish Investment Bank on behalf of the Scottish Government and is also executive chairman of Buccleuch Estates.
The toast was followed by pipers Bell and Guthrie playing the lament while the club standard was lowered by standard bearer James Bell.
Brian Goldie, senior vice-president of the Robert Burns World Federation then proposed the toast to Coldstream Burns Club. As a member of the Falkirk Club this was Brian’s fourth visit to the ceremony and he praised the club for organising the impressive event and also took time to pay tribute to the late Gerald Tait, long-time treasurer and dedicated committee member who, sadly, passed away earlier in the year.
The company then returned in procession to the British Legion Club for a buffet and entertainment by Kenny Brodie, Rob Bell, Bobby Hanlon and others.