Society News

It has come to my notice that Jo Selman, our President is the 50th person to hold the post! Prior to 1989 The President’s tenure was one year and four people had more than one term: Dr A.R.McWhinney and Eddie Cornet, both three times and Vyvian Wells, Willie Kerr and Miss G. Scott all twice. Since 1989 the tenure has been two years. It is now April 2021 and, finally, we are looking forward to some normality – so, hopefully, we will meet up again on or around St. Andrew’s Day?

It is with great sadness that I report the deaths of Life Member Shirley Dodds and Members Joan Fairall and Kathleen Marroitt. Shirley will be remembered for her floral decorations at Burns Dinners and at the Young People’s Concerts; Joan for her prowess at Scottish Country Dancing; and Kathleen for being the organist at the Guild Chapel services.

Coming Events

Since the Burns Dinner of 25 January 2020 only one activity (see below) has taken place due to Covid19. No AGM – Sarah Cushing had, unfortunately, to relinquish her duties as President and Jo Selman has taken over. It is very much in the lap of the Gods, when the Society can return to some normality. Hopefully, we may be able to celebrate St. Andrew’s Day together again in November 2021?


Annual Walk Sunday 06 September 2020

18 persons gathered at the President’s garden in Welford-on-Avon on the Sunday afternoon on a brief window of opportunity between lockdowns! . All but four embarked on a short walk on footpaths around Welford accompanied by two Member’s dogs. Congratulations to Sheelagh who managed the route on a disable buggy! Towards the end of the walk there was a bit of a shower, but, by the time we got back to the garden, the weather picked up and we were able to have our picnic tea in sunshine!

Thanks to Jo and Brian for their hospitality.

73rd Burns Dinner Dance 25 January 2020 (one of the few occasions when it actually fell on Burns’ birthday!)

A good turn-out of 51 Members and Guests attended St. Andrew’s Parish Centre, Shottery (a new venue). Chaired by President, Sarah Cushing, the in-house caterers fed us well with the haggis being ‘fiddled-in’ by Lucinda Bourne and addressed by Bob Macvie. The entertainment started with Richard Sandle-Keynes delivering The Immortal Memory; followed by recitations from Glynis Nicol (Tam O’Shanter’s Wife) and Hazel Brazier (The Lass of Ballochmyle) interspersed with scottish melodies played by Sarah and Lucinda Bourne on piano and violin respectively; Sarah and Lucinda then led the popular and rousing community singing of a few scottish songs; the evening concluded with ceilidh dancing led by Glynis Nicol, Moira Tsolakis and Keith Argyle. A good night was the general opinion and thanks to Sarah Cushing for much of the organisation and the many guests who attended.

Haggis Supper 30 November 2019 St Andrew’s Night

As usual the event was held at Tiddington Community Centre with Hilary Bryan again catering. Swelled by guests, a good number attended. Alas, our Piper, Bob Dobney, was ill and could not attend (we wish you a speedy recovery, Bob), but very much at the last minute Joe Moore filled-in and gave us a rousing selection of tunes on the pipes and some unusual ones as well! After the meal, the tables were cleared and the floor was well-filled with the ceilidh dancing.

Annual General Meeting 19 March 2019

Some 15 Members attended the meeting chaired by Vice-President, Sarah Cushing. The Annual Accounts for the year to 24.02.2019 showed a loss of £52.01 with a bank balance of £3487.73. The May Dance gave it’s usual good surplus but, the Haggis Supper and Burns Dinner Dance both showed losses with attendance at both events well down on previous years. Membership was down to 30 Members (incl 4 Life Members). Election of Office Bearers: Bob Macvie stood down after his 2 years as President and was replaced by Sarah Cushing; Treasurer George Kenneth and Council Member Pat Kenneth both stood down and were replaced by Trish Chilton and Jo Selman respectively. All other existing Council Members were re-elected. There was much discussion on the viability of the Society to hold an annual Burns Dinner Dance especially in it’s present format. Any Other Business: Members had previously been circulated with a proposal to add two sentences to Clause 13 of the Constitution to give clarity on the procedures  in the event of the Society being dissolved. After discussion, the proposal was accepted with a slight amendment.

Burns Dinner Dance Saturday 26 January 2019

38 Members and Guests attended the 72nd Burns Dinner Dance at Stratford Racecourse. The President, Bob Macvie welcomed the company and an excellent meal was provided by Naylors the Caterers. The haggis starter was piped-in by Bob Dobney and addressed by Bob Macvie. After the meal there was the traditional programme: The Immortal Memory by Dr Peter Bebbington; a witty Scottish Verse from Moira Tsolakis; Piper’s Set from Bob Dobney; The Toast to the Lassies by George Kenneth and reply by Glynis Nicol; community singing of Scottish Songs led by Fiona Macvie and John Page. An enjoyable evening then concluded with Ceilidh Dancing led by Glynis Nicol and Moira Tsolakis  with Keith Argyle on the music centre.

Haggis Supper (St. Andrew’s Day) Saturday 24 November 2018

Some 42 Members and Guests met at Tiddington Community Hall. The President, Bob Macvie, was ‘in the chair’. Catering was provided by Hilary Bryan. The haggis was piped-in by Bob Dobney and addressed by Rena Craig. After the meal the company enjoyed Scottish Country Dancing an some tunes on the pipes from Bob Dobney.

Annual Walk Sunday 15 July 2018

A good number of folk met up at Barton for our annual walk. However, only three met at the right car park! Fortunately we quickly realised what had happened and so soon we were all together at the Heart of England Forest to walk through Dorothy’s Wood and the Roman Field Wood. The trees are about 20 years old now and becoming more and more established. It was fairly easy walking and especially dry conditions which helped. A little while later we found ourselves by the River Avon, along a stretch which Hazel knew very well, having sailed it many times. After about an hour’s walking we were back at the car park on Welford Road. Some accepted lifts up the road to the Cottage of Content while others determinedly strode along the road! Most people seemed to enjoy their meals, the majority of which were roasts, and there was good banter all round. Many thanks to all who came and supported the event.   Bob Macvie

Burns Dinner Dance Friday 26 January 2018

A good turnout of 59 Members and Guests came to our 71st Dinner at Stratford Racecourse. Presided over by our President, Bob Macvie, Martin Mackenzie piped-in the haggis which was addressed by Rena Craig. After the meal, proceedings continued with George Kenneth giving The Immortal Memory; Sarah Cushing toasting ‘Our Guests’; and Graham Lewis toasting ‘The Lassies’, with the reply by his wife Jane. Between speeches we were entertained with Scottish Songs by Fiona Macvie and Sarah Cushing, a Piper’s Set by Martin Mackenzie and finally by ourselves in Community Singing. This left enough time for some Ceilidh Dancing led by Glynis Nicol and Moira Tsolakis with Keith Argyle manning the music centre. Another good evening which did Rabbie proud.

Haggis Supper Saturday 25 November 2017

The supper was a great success and seemed to be enjoyed by all who attended (51 No.). I certainly enjoyed my meal and the convivial company! It was great to have so many guests present and it is hoped they will come again on other occasions. The dancing was very enjoyable and, as a non-dancer, I especially appreciated the number of well-known dances that even an amateur like me could manage – with a little help from my friends! Eddie (Cornet) and I both thought the piper, Bob Dobney, was excellent and it was great to hear him playing Highland Cathedral which is one of my favourite pipe tunes.

Many thanks to George in particular for making so many of the arrangements and getting the caterers, but also to Keith, Moira and Glynis for choosing the dances and doing the calling. Val and Jo did a splendid job selling raffle tickets and the £114 raised will be split between the Shakespeare Hospice and Avon Cat Rescue. to all who helped putting up the tables, laying them and then clearing up the Hall afterwards, many thanks indeed.

Bob Macvie (President)

Skittles Evening Friday 17 March 2017

19 Members enjoyed an excellent buffet supper at Stratford Bowling Club, Tiddington followed by three fiercely fought games of skittles.

Burns Dinner Dance Friday 20 January 2017

The 70th annual Burns Dinner Dance was held on Friday 20 January 2017 at Stratford Racecourse. Some 41 Members and Guests enjoyed an excellent meal from Naylors the Caterers of Welford 0n Avon. The second half of the evening started with the Immortal Memory given by Bob Mcvie who gave a fine speech on the life and works of Rabbie Burns and his relevance today; a couple of Scottish songs beautifully sung by Fiona Macvie and Sarah Cushing; Joan Dawson in her Toast to The Guests fold us about Rabbie the Vandal with his diamond-tipped stylus; a superb medley of Scottish tunes on the pipes by Martin Mackenzie; George Shearer in his Toast to The Lassies told us of the influence of three of the lassies in his life; Glynis Nicol in her reply gave us the poem of Tam O’ Shanter’s Wife; some community singing and the enjoyable evening was brought to a close with some ceilidh dancing.

Events held 2016-2017

The annual Haggis Supper, celebrating St. Andrew’s Day was held at Tiddington Community Centre on Saturday 26 November 2016. 51 Members and Guests enjoyed and evening of good food and dancing. With the retirement of Piper Eddie Cornet, it was probably the first time that the haggis was not piped in? However, Vice-President, Bob Macvie made up – with a spirited rendering of Burns’ Address to the Haggis.

Past Events 2014-2016

The 2014 Burns Dinner Dance was a huge success. Congratulations to all those who were involved. The speeches this year were particularly good and can be seen here:

The 2014 Haggis Supper was held at Tiddington Community Centre on Saturday 29 November. 53 Members and Guests enjoyed the usual fare and Eddie Cornet once again piped in the haggis.

The 2015 Burns Dinner Dance was held at Stratford Racecourse (a new venue) on Friday 23 January. The numbers attending rose to 58 with members from Clan McFie joining us. Naylor Fine Foods Ltd gave us, once again, an excellent meal. Member Charlie Girvan gave The Immortal Memory; Tim Barnsdale, a long-time Friend of the Society, gave The Lassies toast; and Member Joan McFarlane replied. Musical interludes were provided by singers Sarah Cushing and Claire Johnson; violinist Marion Fleetwood; and accompanied by Sarah Bourne-Swinton-Hunter. Rabbie (Alastair Schouller) met Will (Bob Macvie) in a sketch. Unfortunately, the full programme overran and left little time for dancing! During the evening Honorary Piper, Eddie Cornet, was presented with a certificate and bottle of Malt to mark his retirement after nearly 50 years of piping for the Society.

The Society’s AGM was held on Tuesday 17 March at the Rosebird Community Hall. George Kenneth stepped down after two years as President and thanked Members for their support in bringing guests to the main events – as with Members alone events would not be viable. John Page was elected President, with Bob Macvie as Vice-President and the remaining Council Members were re-elected en bloc, except for Joan Dawson, who stood down.

It is with sadness that it is announced that Honorary Life Member, Doris Kerr died on 27 March 2015, that long-standing Member Kathleen Winter died in April 2015 and that Past President and Honorary Life Member Malcolm Short died on 2 August 2015.

Congratulations to Member Marjorie Lewis who was 90 years old in May 2015.

Congratulations to Member Sarah Bourne who was ordained as a Deacon at Coventry Cathedral on Sunday 28 June 2015.

On a very wet Sunday, 26 July 2015, a brief interlude in the rain allowed 11 intrepid walkers to enjoy a short ramble around the footpaths of Welford on Avon, led by Jo Selman. The group then joined a further eight at The Four Alls for a meal.

Our St. Andrew’s celebrations in 2015 started with our Haggis Supper in Tiddington Community Centre with 47 attending on the Saturday, followed on the Sunday with a lovely service in The Guild Chapel, Stratford led by Sarah Cushing and then refreshments in The Falcon Hotel opposite.

The 2016 Burns Dinner Dance was held at Stratford Racecourse on Friday 22 January commencing with The President’s Champagne-style reception at 7.00pm. The dinner started at 7.30pm with the ‘piping-in’ of the haggis by Eddie Cornet followed by the traditional ‘Address to the Haggis’ by Rena Craig. After an excellent meal from Naylor Fine Foods Ltd, with President John Page as Chairman, the toast to the ‘Immortal Memory of Robert Burns’ was delivered by Sarah Cushing and very well done, Sarah. Other excellent toasts were given by Peter Bebbington (The Guests), Alastair Schouller (The Lassies) and Lynn Dencer (Reply). The evening included solos by Fiona Macvie, who also led some community singing and concluded with Scottish Country Dancing. 57 people attended with numbers boosted by Members of Clan McFie, two from whom travelled down from Inverness!

It is with great sadness to report that Honorary Life Member Alastair Dodds died 0n 24 March 2016. Alastair was President from 2005-2007 and for many years was organiser of the annual Burns Dinner. Our thoughts go to Shirley and her family in East Sussex.

There was a good turn-out of 45 dancers and 5 non-dancers to the annual Social Dance held at Tiddington Community Centre on Saturday 7 May 2016 where Glynis and Moira did the MC duties. Thanks to Margaret Baker who brought a large group of dancers from Leamington.

Members’ Articles

Letter from India, 2013


Press articles relating to the society

Scottish Recipes 

Scottish News

The Scotsman

Glasgow Herald

Greenock Telegraph

BBC Scotland

BBC ALBA – learn Gaelic

The Scottish Fiddle Orchestra