Annual Burns’ Night 2017

Annual Burns Night 2017 Annual Burns Night 2017 Annual Burns Night 2017 Annual Burns Night 2017 Annual Burns Night 2017 Annual Burns Night 2017 Annual Burns Night 2017 Annual Burns Night 2017 Annual Burns Night 2017 Annual Burns Night 2017 Annual Burns Night 2017 Annual Burns Night 2017 Annual Burns Night 2017 Annual Burns Night 2017 Annual Burns Night 2017 Annual Burns Night 2017 Annual Burns Night 2017 Annual Burns Night 2017 Annual Burns Night 2017 Annual Burns Night 2017 Annual Burns Night 2017 Annual Burns Night 2017 Annual Burns Night 2017 Annual Burns Night 2017 Annual Burns Night 2017 Annual Burns Night 2017 Annual Burns Night 2017 Annual Burns Night 2017 Annual Burns Night 2017 Annual Burns Night 2017 Annual Burns Night 2017 Annual Burns Night 2017 Annual Burns Night 2017 Annual Burns Night 2017 Annual Burns Night 2017 Annual Burns Night 2017 Annual Burns Night 2017


Click here to see the second slide show of photographs from the 2017 Annual Burns Night


The Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro. Archibald Iain Torrance, and his wife Maggie were delighted to welcome 200 guests, including six Heads of Orders in Kent, to the annual Mark Province of Kent Burns’ Night held at the Mercure Hotel, Maidstone on Saturday 21st January 2017.

Guests were warmly welcomed into the foyer by members of the Kent Mark Stewards’ Lodge who were on hand to give assistance if and when required. In the foyer, guests mingled and chatted with friends and acquaintances while enjoying drinks from the bar and listening to the skirl of the pipes, before taking the opportunity to have their photograph taken by our very own professional photographer, Bob Tuthill.

At just before 6pm the Master of Ceremonies, Ray Collings, called for guests to be seated in the banqueting hall, which had been beautifully decorated in a Scottish theme by Toni Ward. At 6pm precisely the Provincial Grand Master and Maggie Torrance where escorted into the dining room by the piper, Victor Murrell, playing the very well known tune Scotland the Brave.

The Selkirk Grace was given by Chic Cameron. The Haggis, borne by the Hotel Chef, was then duly piped in and paraded around the banqueting hall accompanied by the whisky bearer and the Provincial Grand Master. A spectacular Address to a Haggis (written by Robert Burns) was delivered by the Provincial Grand Master, which included removing the Chef’s hat with a flourish of the piper’s dirk. A hearty toast to the haggis was then proposed by the Provincial Grand Master and eagerly taken up by all the guests, before the haggis was returned to the kitchen for serving.

During the meal, the guests were encouraged to take part in a raffle organised by Kieron Stewart, which included a separate prize draw for a £50 note. Sincere thanks are extended to all who provided raffle prizes for the evening. On completion of the meal consisting of haggis, followed by braised beef, then tipsy laird trifle, the Loyal Toast was given by the Provincial Grand Master.

The Toast to the Immortal Memory of Robert Burns was delivered with aplomb by Bobby Smith, Past Master of Lodge Loudoun Kilwinning Newmilns No. 51, the PGM’s very own family Lodge in Ayrshire, Scotland. There then followed the Toast tae the Lassies by John Linkin, Provincial Grand Secretary, in a very humorous manner. Maggie Torrance responded on behalf of the lassies with an extremely witty and amusing reply before being presented with a bouquet of flowers by John Linkin.

Following the raffle the Orpington and District Caledonian Society Dancers took to the floor to demonstrate to the guests just how Scottish dancing and reels should be done. There then followed an extremely amusing 45 minutes where large numbers of the guests tried to match the twirls, twists and nimble foot work of the dancers. More practice by the guests will definitely be required to match the skill of the Orpington and District Caledonian Society Dancers but that did not detract from the tremendous fun had by all those participating as well as those watching.

At this point of the evening the Provincial Executive, having gone through their final vocal exercises strutted confidently to the floor to deliver an enthusiastic version of 500 Miles by the Scottish band, The Proclaimers, with backing music provided by ‘Where’s Brian’ and the audience joining in for the chorus. Despite the tremendous energy and enthusiasm exhibited by the Executive, no encore was called for by the audience!

The rest of the evening was given over to dancing to the music of ‘Where’s Brian’ which was enjoyed by everyone. This was evidenced by the fact that the dance floor was never empty from the moment they started to play until the final chord was struck at just after midnight. There then followed Auld Lang Syne, the traditional end to every Burns Night. The Provincial Grand Master then took to the stage to thank everyone for coming and to wish them a safe journey home. He also thanked the organising team, which consisted of Brian and Toni Ward, Ian Gallehawk, Kieron Stewart, Ray Collings and many others who assisted for all their hard work and efforts in making the evening such a huge success. The PGM said: “I am truly delighted with the way our annual Burns’ Night went on Saturday. With around 200 guests present, this was the most successful event we have ever held. It has taken over a decade to build this Burns’ Night into the outstanding occasion it is and I believe we now have a format that can stand the test of time.

My sincere thanks go to Toni and Brian Ward, Ian Gallehawk, Ray Collings, Kieron Stewart and all the organising team for their wonderful planning and staging of the Burns’ Night. I am also grateful to Victor Murrell, Bob Tuthill, Chic Cameron, Bobby Smith, John Linkin, Maggie Torrance and Where’s Brian for the part that they all played in the event; we could not have done it without your support.

To cap a triumph of an occasion, I am pleased to announce that we raised over £2,800 for the Mark Benevolent Fund, which will also count towards our 2020 Festival total. Many thanks to all who contributed to this substantial sum.

Maggie and I are now looking forward to the 2018 event, which will be held on Saturday 27th January 2018 at the Heart of Kent function suite, Mercure Great Danes Hotel, Maidstone, Kent. Please do book in early to avoid disappointment.”


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