Selkirk Arms Burns Club Celebrate 60th Anniversary

The Selkirk Arms Burns Club celebrated 60 years on Friday night in the ancient hostelry, The Selkirk Arms. Chairman George Whan welcomed a full house of 70 members and guest speakers. Opening the proceedings, Mr. Whan thanked club member Murray Wylie who presented the club with a beautifully crafted oak lectern to mark the 60th Anniversary.

The club held its first supper on 27th January, 1964.Haig Gordon was the first President, Willie Haining, Vice President, Wilson Crossan Secretary and James Anderson, Treasurer. The club evolved from small informal gatherings in the public bar. The first Immortal Memory was proposed by Mr. J. Graham, the Lasses by Robin Dunlop. Supper tickets were priced at five shillings (25p)

Tragedy struck in October 1964 when Haig Gordon and Willie Haining were killed in a car accident. James Anderson, a fishmonger in the town took the chair for the next fifteen years. In all there have been eight chairmen over the years, including Tom Lamont, Robin Haining, John Aitken, Sandy Henry, and David Mitchell. Remarkably in the 60 years there have only been three secretaries, Wilson Crossan, Robin Rennie and Peter Smith. The club has seen many distinguished speakers perform over the years and Friday night’s Supper was no exception..

David Gourlay, a club member for 40 years gave the Selkirk Grace before dinner .Stuart Currie piped in the haggis which was carried by Norman Richardson. Joe Osborne addressed the haggis in some style. Ian McIntyre toasted the club and congratulated the members for their enthusiasm in keeping the club very much alive. Members enjoyed a dram of Lochlea whisky, provided very kindly by the distillery. Burns and his father farmed Lochlea in Ayrshire for 6 years up until 1784.

At the end of the toast, Chairman George Whan presented Pipe Major Ian Weymmss with an engraved glass to mark 57 years’ service to the club.

Willie Dick of New Cumnock Burns Club recited in his usual inimitable style , entertaining the audience with  Epistle to  Hugh Parker . Willie followed this with Parnassus Hill and the Twa Wives. The Toast to Kirkcudbright was delivered by local businessman, Douglas Swan. Dougie gave a highly entertaining and well researched toast. The Lasses were toasted by Past President of Dumfries Burns Howff Club, Callum Watson. Callum’s observation on the fairer sex were well received by an enthusiastic audience. The Toast to the Immortal Memory of Robert Burns was proposed by well-known Burnsian Bobby Jess. Bobby told the story of the life of our National Bard in verse, his own composition, with no notes. A most remarkable Immortal Memory was met with a standing ovation. Ian Swan rounded off the evenings proceedings with a Vote of Thanks in his own distinctive style.