2017 – Annual Celebration
On 25th January, 2017, The Greenock Burns Club met in the Tontine Hotel, Greenock for their 215th Annual Celebration.
The Top Table guests were piped in by Nicholas Donnelly, a member Dublin based St. Laurence O’Toole Pipe Band. Thereafter, Club President Jim Donnelly, chaired the proceedings and warmly welcomed everyone.
Christine Currie then said “A grace before dinner”.
The haggis was then piped into the room by Nicholas Donnelly with Jamie Donnelly, Senior Vice-President, giving his rendition of “Address To a Haggis”. Jamie is the 2016 RBWF “Address to a Haggis” winner.
Jamie later entertained the company with his renditions of “To a Mouse” and “A Man’s a Man..” The President thanked his 2 sons for their work, stating that he had to keep them sweet as they will decide which care home he will eventual reside in!
After a very enjoyable dinner, Karen MacLeod entertained the company with her rendition of “Comin’ thru the Rye”. Later in the evening she sang another song of her choice. Both songs were sang beautifully. Karen is a 5th year pupil at Clydeview Academy and a member of the Inverclyde Schools Senior Choir and the Inverclyde Schools Woodwind Orchestra. She also won the Greenock Rotary Club “Young Musician” competition, qualifying her for the Nation Final later in the year.
Jim Donnelly then had the pleasure of introducing Jim Thomson, the principal speaker of the evening, to propose toast to the Immortal Memory of Robert Burns. Jim is a retired Police Officer. As well as being a member of the Greenock Burns, Jim is a Past President of the RBWF, Past President of the Ayrshire Assoc of Burns Clubs and Past President of both the New Cumnock Burns Club and the Kilmarnock Howff Burns Club.
Jim proposed an excellent Immortal Memory covering numerous facts about his life and dispelling many “untruths” blamed on the Bard. He received a well-earned standing ovation for his efforts.
The Toast to The Mother Club was proposed by Club member Alex Galbraith, another retired Police Officer. He is also a Past Substitute Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland and the current Grand Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Scotland. During his Toast, Alex highlighted the many well-known characters from the Club’s past and the many of the achievements of the Club, which made the respected both locally, nationally and worldwide.
Senior Vice-President Jamie Donnelly thanked Alex for a very well researched and interesting Toast.
The Toast to the Lasses was proposed by David Wilson, Deputy Provost of Inverclyde and the local Conservative and Unionist Councillor for Kilmacolm, Quarriers Village and Port Glasgow. In traditional fashion, David entertained us with his witty observations of the lasses, interspersed with suitable facts and verse to reinforce his case.
Replying to the Toast to The Lasses was Jennifer Buchan, a Humanist Celebrant with the Humanist Society Scotland. She is also the Humanist Chaplain at the University of Strathclyde and was recently invited to give the “Time for Reflection” at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, where she spoke regarding the importance of the Human Rights Act. Jennifer took the opportunity in her reply to humorously point out the failings of men, while reinforcing her case by using quotations and verse from the Bard.
Both received standing ovations from the company and it was agreed that the lasses had possibly won on the evening.
As is the tradition at The Mother Club, Jim Donnelly installed Jim Thomson as Honorary President and invested him with his badge of Office. Jim was also presented with a certificate which shows the names of all those who have proposed the Immortal Memory since 1886.
In reply to receiving the honour, Jim Thomson expressed his surprise and delight at receiving the honour and stated that he would cherish it for years to come.
At the end of the programme, Barclay Smith, Junior Vice-President gave a very witty but sincere Vote of Thanks to all who had made the evening a resounding success.
The evening came to a close with the company singing Auld Lang Syne.