Club Soiree

Can I take this opportunity to thank all those who attended and contributed to last nights soirĂ©e. It was a great night with loads of laughs. For some reason I have a sore head this morning, I think it must’ve been the Chateau de Chasselas Obadiah. I hope the Python’s will forgive our Scottish/Yorkshire/Lancashire accent! To all those competing for the dreaded Draffan Cup tonight I wish you good luck and hope the weather stays fair.

Mission Accomplished

I was in Portpatrick with Lisa and whilst there was tasked by Hon Sec D Smith BEM of obtaining a photograph of the statue of Burns situated in the grounds of the bowling green. It was erected on 1st May 1929 by Portpatrick and District Burns Club and I’m told that Burns Howff Club members helped to repair it when it was damaged in the 1980’s during past president Donald Urqhart’s year in office.

It may be that some of our more senior members remember this and can enlighten us further. I will attempt to publish an up to date photograph on the blog.


On Sunday 10th May 2015, I attended at Coldstream to lay a wreath on behalf of the club at the annual Coldstream bridge ceremony. Accompanied by Hon Sec past president D Smith, past president Ian McIntyre and SVP William Johnstone we arrived in good time for bacon rolls at The Besom public house along with Bobby Kane JVP of the RBWF and John Campbell, president of the Fauldhouse and Crofthead BC. We thereafter spent a great afternoon in the company of the members of Coldstream and other Borders Burns clubs after a lovely service at the bridge.

Thanks to Chairman David Douglas of the Coldstream BC and Secretary John Elliott for their warm welcome.

I’m pleased to report all Howff club members were well behaved however parachute rolls are becoming a common occurrence for some!

It won’t be long now

Well only a couple of hours to go until our AGM. I must admit it is quite a daunting prospect when thinking about becoming president of one of the worlds most famous Burns clubs however I am looking forward to the experience. Can I take this early opportunity to congratulate President John Clark on a marvellous year in office.

President’s Update The Devil’s Porridge

President’s notes on the Trip to the ‘Devil’s Porridge’ April 2015. Final Blog
The last outing by the Burns’ Howff Club in my term of office was to the Devil’s Porridge at Eastriggs on 30th April 2015 An almost full bus headed off from Brooms Road Car Park to the re-located and recently built premises. With a good tail wind we made excellent time, arriving so early the premises were closed and suspicions were aroused that we may have embarked on a fools errand!

Patience however was rewarded when the guide appeared and duly shepherded us into the building. Richard, the guide, was most knowledgeable and gave us a briefing on the huge munitions factory complex whose breadth covered aprox 12 miles, employing an astonishing 30,000 people. Built originally to supply gun cotton at the start of World War 1, it expanded to cater to the demand for munitions during World War 2. The museum is now state of the art in respect of presentation, with numerous exhibits supported by visual and audio displays.

There is a fascinating corner covering the terrible rail disaster that happened during world war 1, near Gretna , which claimed in excess of 200 lives. The new museum is very much worth a visit, even if you have visited the old one and are acquainted with items on show. Within the brand new building, the presentation is much clearer and less cluttered than the old premises. Outside a large compressed air driven locomotive is proudly on display complete with a rather striking livery of camouflage green. Cutting edge engineering in its time!

After some liquid refreshment at the Blue Bell, the evening concluded with tasty fish suppers and rather grand looking Steak Pies, consumed in the famous Cafe Royal in Annan. I’m pleased to report all plates were cleared and paid for without incident (we’ll not mention the Italian Job at Moffat). I close my final blog as president with many happy memories. A special mention must go to David Smith (and others in the senior executive) who organise away trips, lectures and other events with such military precision. I look forward to the next twelve months in a more pastoral role and wish our new President all the best in the coming months.

Yours Aye

John Clark
(President Burns’ Howff Club)