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Burns Howff Club Celebrate The Memory of Jean Armour

The memory of Jean Armour, the widow of Robert Burns, was celebrated by the Burns Howff Club with a dinner in the Globe Inn on 3rd July.

Earlier, members, guests and delegates from other local Burns Clubs gathered at the statue to Jean Armour opposite St. Michaels Church and were welcomed by Colin Gibson, president of the Burns Howff Club who placed a floral tribute at the statue and led the company to Burns House where an oration to Jean Armour was delivered by William Johnston, the club’s immediate past president.

The party was piped back to the Globe Inn by club piper Callum Watson and called to order by the president. A special welcome was accorded to Professor Ian Hardin, a distinguished academic from Athens, Georgia, USA and president of the Athens Burns Club.

After dinner, a toast to “Jean Armour” was submitted by Emma Harper MSP, also president of Dumfries Ladies Burns Club No. 1, who examined the life of the remarkable woman, a Mauchline mason’s daughter, who married at twenty two and was widowed at thirty. She bore Robert nine children, the last on the day of her husband’s funeral, her widowhood extending for thirty-eight years until her death in 1834.

Dr Ruth Thomson, retired consultant paediatrician and also vice president of Dumfries Ladies Burns Club No. 1, delivered the toast to “The other women in Burns’ life” and covered a wide canvas from Mary Campbell (Highland Mary), Maria Riddell of Woodlea Park and Agnes McIlhose of Edinburgh, Burns’ “Clarinda” in their correspondence.

Contributing to the entertainment programme were John Caskie and Avril Kerr with musical selections from Lee McQueen on the accordion and Kirsty Hunter playing the club’s “Millennium Fiddle”. The young duo, “Tagan”, Ewan McCrory and Isla Cooper, delighted the company with their songs to their own accompaniment.

To mark the retirement of Jane Brown as manager of the Globe Inn, past president John Clark and president Colin Gibson performed a ditty entitled “Don’t walk oot the door”, composed by John and sung to the tune “Wild Rover” at which the company enthusiastically joined in the chorus. Jane was presented with a framed copy and other gifts from the club.

The President of the Robert Burns World Federation, Bobby Kane, brought greetings from that body and thanked the Burns Howff Club for their support over many years.

A comprehensive Vote of Thanks, wittily delivered by senior vice president Bill Graham, brought a memorable evening to a close.