Last-minute trophy panic has silver lining for Ian

Ian Buick at the Burns Memorial in Edinburgh
Ian Buick at the Burns Memorial in Edinburgh

Fresh from his success at the John Lapraik World Championship, local Burns enthusiast Ian Buick has been on the podium again although his latest entry was very last minute.

Ian, a member of Coldsteam and Whiteadder Burns Club, travelled to Edinburgh for the Tom McIllwraith Trophy, an accolade he won four years ago.

He was originally only meant to be at the event to perform at the capital’s Burns monument as part of his prize but just days before competitors lined up he was asked to compete on behalf of the Borders Association of Burns Clubs.

“This left me in a wee bit of a quandary as to what to recite.” Ian commented.

“I didn’t want to recite the poem I won it with four years ago.

“The competition is quite specific, the poem has to be between 70 and 150 lines long. Going through my list of Burns poems I thought that the eighty eight line poem ‘Man was made to Mourn’ would fit the bill.

“It is quite a dramatic poem about an 80 year old country worker and his rant about recession and unemployment in the country areas especially with regard to older workers.”

Ian thought the poem, which contains the famous line “Mans inhumanity to man, makes countless thousands mourn” had some relevance to modern society but a problem lay in the fact he hadn’t so much as looked at the poem in a long time, leaving him nervous about performing it.

“The trouble was that it was almost a year since I had recited the poem, so in the days before the competition I must have recited it to myself a hundred times,” Ian continued.

“Competitors were drawn from all over Scotland from Dumfries to Aberdeen.

“The standard was very high. No competitor stumbled in their delivery or had to be prompted. I was the second last competitor to recite.”

Ian had to perform in front of a panel of judges which included Bob Stewart, the President of the Robert Burns world Federation and they were obviously impressed.

Although he didn’t quite do enough to claim the trophy, his last minute effort was enough to win him a very pleasing second place.

Next on Ian’s to-do list is uniting Borders and Berwick Burns enthusiasts to mark the 220th anniversary of the Bard’s death in 2016.

Although still three years away Ian is keen to get the ball rolling with ideas from around the region.

He can be contacted on