The Denner

The 148th Anniversary Dinner, 25th January 2018

Message from the President

Dear Members and Guests

 

A warm welcome to the 148th Anniversary Dinner of the world’s biggest Burns Club, ‘The Bridgeton’.

 

Instituted in 1870, some 74 years after the bard’s death, the clubs’ objective is twofold.

  • To celebrate the life and works of Robert Burns, by holding a dinner each year on the 25th January.
  • To promote the life and works of Robert Burns amongst the children of the schools of the East-end of Glasgow by holding an annual competition.

 

Tonight, I have the honour of chairing this prestigious dinner and would like to take this opportunity to thank each of you for your continued support.

 

Just last month it was fantastic to see over 1000 children take part in the annual Competition at St Mungo’s Academy, encompassing song, recitation, choral verse, art and news desk. The quality and enthusiasm of the entrants never fails to amaze, and this year was no exception. Tonight, we will have the pleasure of hearing a select few of our winners after which our Treasurer, Colin Botfield, will make the appeal on behalf of the club. I would be grateful if you could listen carefully to what he has to say as it is key to the continued success of the competition.

 

As part of the club’s fundraising activities we are currently offering some very attractive sponsorship packages, ranging from Dinner sponsorship to ‘my old school’ transport costs. More information can be obtained by visiting our website: www.bridgetonburnsclub.org.uk.

 

The strength and success of Bridgeton Burns Club is in no small way due to the quality and commitment of its board of Directors and Past Presidents. During the year the Board of Directors and Past Presidents have been involved in many activities such as the golf competitions at Whitecraigs GC and Cathkin Braes GC. There was dinner at the Batchelors Club in Tarbolton in March and a visit to Mossgiel farm in Mauchline in October.

 

We were very privileged to have Professor Gerry Carruthers and Professor Kirsteen McCue deliver talks on Burns at two of our monthly board meetings. It was enlightening and heartening to hear about the work that both they and their teams are doing at Glasgow University to promote and protect the works of the Bard.

 

As always, we are looking for new recruits to join our board as a director, if this is something that you feel you would be interested in please feel free to speak to either myself or one of the board members or alternatively contact us via the club website.

 

It is with great sadness that I report the passing last month of the Clubs’ Hon Senior Vice President, Allan Findlay. Allan was President in 1980/81 and was an ever-present stalwart thereafter. He will be sorely missed by all that knew him.

 

Gentlemen, we have a terrific line up entertainment for you tonight so please sit back, relax and enjoy the Best Burns Supper in the World.

 

Yours aye

 

Allan McGinness, President

 

 

Biographies

John Shirkie, Charlie Newlands & George McNeill

JOHN SHIRKIE

 

John Shirkie was born in Tarbolton in 1957 and from the day he started primary school was completely immersed in the works of Robert Burns. He moved to Mauchline in 1969, where he met and married his wife Celia. They have a son, Steven and a daughter Lorna.

 

John currently works as Senior Infrastructure Technician for Network Rail and lists among his hobbies, golf, football and student of Robert Burns. John is both a Past Captain and club champion of Ballochmyle Golf Club and with a new knee fitted just recently hopes to return to those heady heights again.

 

As the Secretary and Past Master of Lodge St James (Kilwinning) Tarbolton No 135, the lodge of Robert Burns, he regularly hosts visits to the lodge museum where some incredible and priceless Burns memorabilia are on display. In 2009, the 250th anniversary of the birth of the bard, John took part in a BBC programme highlighting the life and works of Burns. He is very pro-active in ensuring the continuation and success of the primary school Burns competitions in Mauchline, Tarbolton and the surrounding areas. John has spoken numerous times in far off and wonderful places but was particularly honoured to be asked to do the Immortal Memory, on this day last year, to a very select and intimate gathering at Burns cottage in Alloway.

 

 

 

CHARLIE NEWLANDS M.B.E.

 

Born in Glasgow in 1944 Charlie has been married to June for 50 years and is the proud father of 4 sons and grandfather to 11 grandchildren.

 

After leaving Shawlands Academy in 1961 he went to work in the building trade where he remained until his retirement in 2011.

 

It is his commitment to charity work that sets him apart. Charlie has been the secretary of Enable Renfrew for the past 46 years and was made an Honorary Life Member of Enable Scotland in 2012. He has been heavily involved and participated in the building of a hospital and primary school in Sierra Leone and regularly receives letters from the children of the school addressed to ‘Grandpa Charlie’. Charlie received accolade of the Renfrew Citizen of the Year in 1993 and was awarded the MBE in 2004 for services to the town of Renfrew.

 

A Past President of Glasgow and District Burns Association, Past President of Glasgow Haggis Club and of course Past President of Bridgeton Burns Club, Charlie still manages to find the time to do some public speaking and entertaining with his guitar.

 

 

 

GEORGE McNEILL

 

George started his sporting career as a professional footballer playing part time with Hibs, Morton & Stirling Albion. He gave up his football to concentrate on athletics. Because he had signed professional forms as a footballer, he was banned from running as an amateur. He therefore had to concentrate on the professional running circuit.

 

He started by winning the 1970 centenary “Powderhall Sprint” in Edinburgh, which is the oldest and most renowned professional race. After his victory at Powderhall he continued to improve to world class times and in August of 1970 he set a new professional world record for 120 yards at the press charities sports at Meadowbank Stadium in Edinburgh. On January 1st 1971 he ran 110 metres in 11.00 sec’s which Equates to around 10 seconds for the more popular 100 metres. In 1972 he won the world professional sprint title when he defeated Olympic gold medallist Tommie Smith in a four race series at Wakefield.

 

Throughout the seventies he continued to run on the relatively small highland games circuit in Scotland as well as travelling to the more lucrative professional scene in Australia. George went on to win the biggest professional race in the world in 1981, when he won the “Stawell Gift” in Australia. By coincidence this was also in its centenary year.

 

Throughout his career he also had to run the small family business where his training as a chartered quantity surveyor was put to good use.

 

Since retiring from athletics George has involved himself with coaching football teams such as Heart Of Midlothian and currently Livingston F.C. George is a very popular and more than accomplished after dinner speaker and I am delighted that he is joining us tonight.

 

 

 

 

The Nicht’s Ongauns

Welcome Greetings

Grace ........................................................................................... The Chairman

The Queen ................................................................................... The Chairman

Songs O’ Burns .................................................................Artistes and Company

Selection from the Schools Competition .............................. The Schoolchildren

 

Schools Competition Appeal

 

Treasurer Colin Botfield

 

Songs O’ Burns ..............................................................Artistes and Company

 

Interval

Songs O’ Burns ..............................................................Artistes and Company

The Immortal Memory

John Shirkie

The Speaker....................................................................Director Graham Hill

Songs O’ Burns ............................................................Artistes and Company

Our Guests...........................................Past President Charlie Newlands MBE

Reply on behalf of the Guests .................................................George McNeill

Vote of  thanks.......................................................................... The Chairman

Our Chairman .......................................................Vice President Iain Glennie

 

 

“Auld Lang Syne”

Artiste: Past President Ronnie Williamson

Pipe Band: Willamwood Pipe Band

Pianist: Matthew Hynes

Piper: Pipe Major Spencer Veitch;

Scottish Charity No - SC 015476

President 2016 - 2017 - Andy McArthur TD

Scottish Charity No - SC 015476

 

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