Burns Federation No  458

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Top Table Photograph :  (left to right) : Douglas Samways, Kirsty Duncan, Jimmy MacAllan, Jean Webster,

Peter Webster, Jamie Grieve, Dave MacDonald, Anya Tullock, David Johnston, Gwynne Stewart.




In past years, the Stonehaven Fatherland Burns Club has attracted top-table guests from distant places such as London, Edinburgh, Ayrshire and Dumfries. But for its popular annual Burns Supper last Wednesday, the club really pushed the boat out, sparing no expense as it invited a variety of speakers from as far afield as.............Laurencekirk, Newtonhill and Maryculter!


Come Monday, everything was in place for the enjoyment of the 93 guests who had grabbed tickets, and a year of hard preparation was about to reach fruition. But the best laid-schemes (as the bard told the Mousie) gang aft agley, as local businessman and well known corporate master of ceremonies Steven "Bardy" Innes, who was to propose the Immortal Memory, was forced to call off that same day with serious illness. Yet such is the network of Burns enthusiasts in the Mearns that within barely an hour, well known local landscape artist and retired lecturer David Johnston had happily stepped into the breach.


The evening kicked off with Iain "Skirlie" McFadden ably piping-in evergreen haggis hauderer Jimmy MacAllan, and the beastie was beautifully addressed and attacked by Mackie S2 Kirsty Duncan, one of two school pupils performing that night. Pam McFadden delivered the Selkirk Grace and the company sat down to a splendid three course meal, the sole complaint being the oversized helpings of succulent roast rib-eye of Scottish beef, Yorkshire Pudding and haggis fritter wi' a' the trimmings!


Following the meal and the Loyal Toast, club president Dave MacDonald introduced primary school pupil Anya Tullock, who matched Kirsty in providing a beautifully paced and clear rendition of selected verses from Tam o' Shanter. With talented youngsters like this coming through, the future of Burns in the Mearns is in richt guid hands!


David Johnston's Immortal Memory comprised of a witty and thought-provoking discourse on the Bard as he described three short and previously unseen poetic works which had mysteriously (aye, right!) happened to come into his possession, and finished with an interesting academic take on the famous final verse of "A Man's a Man".


The club's own double act of Douglas Samways and Gwynne Stewart then locked verbal horns as they dealt ably and very humorously with the Toast to the Lasses and the reply. Coincidentally and with absolutely no prior collusion with David Johnston, Douglas had also "discovered" some missing Burns manuscripts! The Fatherland's unique toast to Scotland Yet was then 'undertaken' by Aberdeen's own consultant forensic pathologist, Professor Jamie Grieve frae Wedderhill, a natural public speaker who used a keen sense of humour allied to his own professional insight into mortality, loss and grief, to bring real clarity to Burns' astonishing way with words in describing  human emotions and failings.



Burns Supper 2017