With a capacity crowd of 200 people, the Marriott was pretty near filled up! On the Friday evening there was an informal Drinks reception at 6:30pm. This was followed by a three course meal during which we were very pleasantly entertained by a very versatile saxophonist/flautist/clarinetist whose selection of background tunes put everyone in a lovely relaxed mood, fully able to then enjoy the final part of the entertainment for the evening. Though not as advertised due to ill health, he delivered a selection of songs which were very entertaining.
The Evening of the Burns Supper, the Saturday, was once more a fabulous triumph. Our own PGM, David Ashbolt and his ever-gorgeous wife, Vanda, were our President and the Lady for the evening. We were also honoured by the presence of MW Pro Grand Master Ray Smith and his lovely wife, Anne, the RW Deputy Grand Master John (Happy) Prizeman and his lovely lady who wishes to remain anonymous and our new RW Assistant Grand Master, Stephen Davison who is only the same height as John Prizeman, providing John is on a chair! From the RW Grand Secretary Ryan Williams, the President of the MBF Dr John Wright (and so many other worthies that I could be here till a week next Friday recording them all so I’m not going to!) all of whom certainly seemed to enjoy a fabulous evening with us.
Our meals were up to the usual standards we have come to look for and all enjoyed them. VW Bro Tom Quinn performed the ritual slaughter of the large recumbent Haggis in his usual brilliant manner and even managed a slight mention of RW Bro John Prizeman during his delivery. Poor John.
When our PGM took to the podium after the Dinner it was to welcome all the honoured guests, all those who had not attended before and the rest of us and wish us all the very best. He then went on to announce that he had, sadly, decided to stand down as PGM as from 10th July 2019. This is after 21 years as a senior Officer in the Mark in London, including 7 years as our Provincial Grand Master. David has been a beacon of light who is capable of getting the very best from people just by being himself. He has raised the profile of the Mark exponentially.
We were then right royally entertained by Tom & Eunice who prove beyond doubt that their music and songs & parodies just get better each year. This year there was a bit of an additional part when 14 members of the TAEQC (Tom and Eunice Quinn Cheerleaders) trading under the name of the BAMPOTS accompanied Tom on his delivery of his now obligatory Gilbert & Sullivan rendition in parody form. As always, Tom delivers and even made the Chorus sound “guid”. The Finale was a musical expose of the Exec which was very well received by everyone.
Somewhat later than scheduled, the evening’s traditional Scottish Dancing under the guidance of Push ‘n Pull took place to the great pleasure of those energetic youngsters (and not quite so youngsters) who thronged onto the dancefloor!
During the break, WBro Tim MacAndrews drew the raffle with the aid of Vanda Ashbolt and six wonderful prizes were soon allocated to their new homes! The raffle raised the magnificent sum of £2,800.00 which will form part of the donation to the MBF.
This was Tim’s third Burns night and he is to be highly commended on the way in which he has organised everything and has been on hand to make sure things went well. Square Evens were the agents as usual and their contribution was once again second to none.
If you have never been to a Burns Weekend before and you think you might like to join us next year, may we suggest that you keep watching the website as we get a bit more into the year as it will definitely be a First Come First Served situation and we will soon sell out!!
We hope you enjoy the pictures.
Chris James and Hiko Tanaka – Provincial Paparazzi!!