Scotland’s national bard, Robert Burns, has been honoured at suppers and events across the Borders as the anniversary of his birth, January 25, approaches.
The poet, born in 1759 in Alloway in South Ayrshire, is remembered around the world with toasts, songs and stories each year, and that’s a tradition the Borders keeps up too.
Selkirk Incorporation of Hammermen held its commemoration supper on Friday night, under the chairmanship of deacon Alan Tough, in the Victoria Halls.
The immortal memory was proposed by John Nairn, and Ronnie Fleming recited Tam o’ Shanter.
The haggis was carried in by standard bearer Mark Easson, escorted by piper Andrew Bunyan and addressed by Fraser Tough.
John Smail proposed a toast to the lassies, the last word came from Fraser Tough after Graeme Legge proposed the vote of thanks.
Entertainment came from Jimmy Gibb, Drew Richardson and Tommy Knox.
Jedburgh Burns Club held its first supper in two years at the Carter’s Rest that same night.
After a minute’s silence, held in tribute to former member and supper organiser Alastair Burrell, who died last year, the haggis was carried in by chef Kevin Scott, led by piper Wull Wylie and addressed by Michael Pringle.
Tam o’ Shanter and an immortal memory came from Matthew Burgess and Johnny Gray respectively. Ex-callant Gary Hogg proposed a toast to the royal burgh, and Gordon Leitch did likewise to the lassies.
The next, night the Focus Centre in Galashiels played host to a Scottish Heart at Risk Testing charity supper organised by Kenny and Wilma Gunn.
The immortal memory was given by Davey Scott, Jim Johnston gave the toast to the lassies and received the reply from his wife Shelagh. Alastair Russell addressed the haggis, piped in by David Sanderson and carried by Matthew Burgess, who later recited Tam o’ Shanter. Musical entertainment came from Kenny Gunn and Angela Soave.
More tributes follow this weekend as Galashiels Burns Club holds its supper in the town’s volunteer hall on Friday.
The Ex-Melrosians’ Association will hold a supper at Melrose Corn Exchange on Saturday night.
That same evening Alasdair Hutton is guest speaker at a tribute at Abbotsford House’s, and Ideoms Theatre Company will present its take on a traditional Burns supper to a sellout audience at Bowhill House, Selkirk.
The following Saturday evening, a Burns supper will be hosted by the Border Hotel in Kirk Yetholm and on Saturday, February 9, the Border Club in Hawick will hold its mixed Burns supper.
That same night Glendouglas Village Hall will welcome Jane Brown, a past president of the Robert Burns World Federation, to give the immortal memory as part of its annual Burns tribute.