St Helens Lodge Burns Night

The members of St Helens Lodge No 4121 met along with their guests to celebrate the life of Robbie Burns on their annual “Burns Night”.

John Aitken in traditional Scottish dress.

John Aitken in traditional Scottish dress.

The traditional fare of cock-a-leekie soup followed by haggis, neaps and tatties was thoroughly enjoyed by all, as was the entertainment.

The night’s festivities were begun when the haggis was carried in by group vice chairman Graham Williams accompanied by a traditional Scots Piper. John Aitken, dressed in a traditional Scottish kilt then gave the Robbie Burns “Address to a Haggis” which begins: “Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face, Great chieftain o the puddin’-race!” and cut open the first haggis; this was subsequently served to the master followed by a generous portion for all.

After the guests had eaten their fill, John Alexander with his accordion gave a musical tribute to the late Jack Heaton, a Scotsman and a long-time member of Old Priory Lodge, during which a candle was lit and held by John Dawson.

Another tribute followed, this time to the late Arthur Cowper whose knowledge and enthusiasm for Scotch whisky and regular whisky tasting evenings were well remembered by many of the brethren. In recent times the whisky tasting evenings have been revived and are now in the hands of David Rigby who treated the members and their guests to a short talk with the tasting of two whiskies.  The first was a Highland variety “Old Pulteney” followed by a 15-year-old Speyside whisky, ‘Glenfiddich Old Solera’.

The evening ended with a rendition of “The Parting Glass” by John Dawson, this being a song which was sung in Scotland in the days before Burns wrote “Auld Lang Syne”, followed by all the members and guests joining in with the latter.

Article and photos by John Whalley.

David introduces the guests to one of the single malt whiskies.

David introduces the guests to one of the single malt whiskies.