Carrick Burns Club in its 122nd year held its Annual Burns Supper in Malin Court Maidens on Saturday night.
Chairman the Rev. Jim Guthrie welcomed just under one hundred members and then announced that the Club’s Patron the Rt Hon. the Marquess of Ailsa had passed away in the United States while attending a Clan Gathering in Florida. Lord Ailsa had been due back to attend the supper that evening.
He called on Club Secretary Denis Reid who paid tribute to Lord Ailsa and praised him for his sterling work in supporting Carrick Burns Club and building bridges between it and fellow Burns Clubs in the United States.
Mr Reid also referred to Lord Ailsa’s charitable work especially for Diabetes Scotland but also for several other important charities.
A personal friend of Lord Ailsa’s Mr Reid also made reference to the fact the Marquess’s great grandfather had been a founding Patron of Carrick Burns Club and that despite their sad loss Lord Ailsa would have wanted everyone to enjoy the annual Supper as much as he would have done. The Chairman concluded the tribute with a short prayer.
Mr Reid then proceeded to address the haggis in his usual inimitable style.
Following an excellent dinner most efficiently served by Malin Court’s outstanding staff, the “Immortal Memory” was proposed by Mr Keith Wallace, Chief Executive of an Engineering Company and a past Chairman of Haddington Burns Club. Keith made mention of many of the Bard’s achievements but said many of them were famous but not immortal. Incorporating two of Burns songs in his delivery Keith concluded by saying that what was immortal about Robert Burns was his dream of equality of man, emancipation of women, the sharing of wealth and freedom for mankind. A dream he said which has yet to be realised in many parts of the world.
The toast to “The Lassies” was then most wittily proposed by Mr Struan Stevenson former MEP and now an accomplished author.
Struan had an unenviable task knowing that his wife was providing the reply. This did not prevent him from a highly entertaining resume of his knowledge of the lassies, quite a bit of it at his wife’s expense much to the delight of his audience.
The “Reply” was immediate and forthright from Struan’s wife Pat who served for many years as a senior news editor and who is a well respected journalist and broadcaster.
This was every bit as entertaining and the ladies in the audience thoroughly enjoyed some very humorous stories quite a few of them at Pat’s husband’s expense.
Carrick’s unique toast to “My Scotland” was then proposed by The Rev. Owain Jones formerly of Colmonell and now of Bute. An old friend of the Carrick Club Owain, a Welshman by birth completed his task in a most articulate manner remarking on the blend of Picts, Angles, Irish, Scots, and Vikings from which modern Scotland had sprung. With a fine mix of humour and deeply thoughtful views Owain held his audience spellbound and proved himself a wordsmith of very impressive ability.
The final toast of the evening to “The Jolly Beggars” was proposed by Mr John Kerr of Dundonald.
A member of Dundonald Burns Club, John has a remarkable couthy sense of humour and a droll delivery.
His beggars consisted of the top table and artistes and he had his audience in stitches as he handed out the most hilarious accolades and abuse to each and every one.
It was obvious that John is a firm favourite with the Carrick club and is sure to return again to regale them once more.
Recitations of the Bard’s work were incredibly well delivered by Mr Stuart McKinlay of Ayr who again proved himself a fine actor and raconteur. His delivery of “Holy Willie’s Prayer” must surely be second to none.
Stuart is another firm favourite of Carrick members as indeed is the irrepressible singer and accompanist Mr Willie Stewart of Dundonald who as always held his audience captivated with his performance of Burns’ songs.
Chairman Guthrie finally brought proceedings to a close commenting on the quality of the evening in both food and entertainment and pulling together a hearty rendition of “Auld Lang Syne”
The members left for home once again agreeing that they had experienced another “Grand Nicht at the Carrick”