2013 – Annual Celebration

On the evening of Friday 25 January, 2013, the members of the The Mother Club held their 211th Annual Celebration, held within the tontine hotel, Greenock. The atrocious weather did not deter the members and guests, who braved the harsh conditions to attend.

The evening commenced with Rev. Douglas Hamilton, Past President, saying the Selkirk Grace. The haggis was paraded with the usual flair, ably led by Club Piper Bill McCready, where it was addressed by Mr Martin Cassidy, Senior Vice-President of the Alloway Burns Club. Martin later gave excellent recitations of “Epistle to a Young Friend” and “Address to the Toothache”.

After a fine meal, the Club President, Mr Iain Skene, welcomed all present and introduced the top table guests in his usual courteous and humorous style.

This was followed by expert musicianship from David McCallum, George Futter and Ian Kay, collective known as Còisir Aodh Briogais, who struggled through the snow from Perthshire. This was not without casualties, as David’s daughter Eilidh, an accomplished singer / songwriter, was “snow in” and unable to attend. Còisir Aodh Briogais entertained on several other occasions throughout the evening.

20130125 GBC_A_C_4Iain Skene then warmly introduced Dr Kirsteen McCue, who is the Co-Director of the Centre for Robert Burns Studies at the University of Glasgow. Kirsteen then presented her Immortal Memory, which was themed around Robert Burns, his music and songs. As well as being both interesting and informative, Kirsteen interspersed it by beautifully singing “Of A’ the Airts”, “Duncan Gray” to the musical arrangement by Ludwig Van Beethoven, which included overtures between each verse, expertly played by her partner Mr David Hamilton on piano. She concluded with the song “Ye Banks and Brae”, which she sang in French to the arrangement by the French composer Maurice Ravel. At the conclusion of which Kirsteen received the approbation of all present.

The Toast to the Mother Club was expertly and humorously proposed by Andrew Ward, a pupil of Notre Dame High School, Greenock. The reply to the toast was given by Mrs Maureen Armstrong, Senior Vice-President, who congratulated Andrew on his research and the manner with which he proposed his toast.

The Toast to the Lasses was proposed by local author Mr Alan Morrison who used his dry Scottish wit and excellent timing to make jibes about the lasses at every opportunity. Unfortunately for him, his wife Lorna gave an equally suitable reply to his toast, which showed the men in their true(?) colours.

Club President, Mr Iain Skene, then invited Dr Kirsteen McCue to accept the office of Honorary President for the ensuing year. Kirsteen reply that it was an honour to accept the office, which has been held by many notable speakers and lovers of Robert Burns over the last 211 years. She was then presented with her Honorary Presidents badge and a suitable certificate, which listed her predecessors.

The Vote of Thanks was most ably proposed by Past President Rev Douglas Hamilton, who thanked everyone who contributed in making the evening a success. He also thanked the sister Burns Club for sending good wishes cards.

The evening came to the traditional end with the company singing Auld Lang Syne.

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