Although not immune from the current membership malaise affecting many clubs up and down the country, Hawick Burns Club nevertheless served up a superb evening’s entertainment of the Bard’s song and verse.
Last Friday night’s annual supper was indeed a fitting tribute to the Ploughman Poet, but the event’s success was never in doubt, particularly with Burns buff Davey Scott, formerly of Hawick but now living in Duns, giving a superb Immortal Memory. Loaded with humour and delivered in fine style, his speech alluded to Burns as Scotland’s “greatest hero”.
Emphasising the Bard’s popularity and the annual staging of suppers the world over, Mr Scott asserted: “This is no parochial festivity either. From where the sun rises in the east to where it sets in the west, people of all race and religion will gather in peace and harmony to pay tribute to a man who has become a symbol of humanity and compassion to all mankind.”
Touching on Burns’ characteristics, Mr Scott went on: “Here was a man that enjoyed the good times that came his way. He could see good in people, yet around him was hypocrisy, dishonesty, poverty and despair. His aim was to brighten the day as best that he could. Yet he was prepared to stand up and be counted when the right thing was not being done.”
Relaying a letter penned by the Bard in which he laid bare his philosophy, Mr Scott quoted Burns: “God knows I am no saint. I have a whole host of sins, but if I could and I believe it would do it the best I can, I would wipe away all tears from all eyes.” The toast was warmly applauded and at the conclusion he received a well-deserved presentation from president George MacDonald, in the chair.
Chairman MacDonald had earlier addressed the haggis, which was proudly carried around the the Pringle Hall by the club’s George Gillies, to the skirl of the pipes by the latter’s brother, Pipe Major Brian Gillies.
Stuart Donaldson, a hugely popular figure on the Borders Burns circuit, was his usual animated self with an excellent rendering of Tam o’ Shanter, which went down a treat.
Highlighting the esteem in which the Hawick club is held by Burns organisations throughout the UK, numerous Greetings from Kindred Clubs were read by secretary John Goldie, after which Ex-Servicemen’s Club president Jim Adams gave a humorous toast to Our Guests.
With lights dimmed, Piper Gillies played a moving lament following secretary Goldie’s announcement of a larger than usual list of members who had passed away during the year.
The mood was then lightened somewhat with a hilarious toast to The Lassies by ex-Cornet Ian Nichol, during which the Common-Riding stalwart’s repertoire of quick-fire gags garnered warm applause.
Offering the reply From Our Guests, Ian ‘Scocha’ Scott talked of his affinity with the Burns Club, while Ian Rutherford was top-notch with Holy Wullie’s Prayer.
Others who entertained the company were Hawick Pipe Band, Iain ‘Hightower’ Scott, Bernie Armstrong and Iain ‘Scocha’ Scott.
An excellent meal was served by Brydon’s Bakery and Restaurant, while the evening concluded with the traditional singing of Auld Lang Syne.