AROUND 170 guests packed into the Greenock Town Hall recently for Lodge Greenock Kilwinning No XII’s Burns Supper.

This made it the largest Burns Supper in Inverclyde this year.

The evening was greatly enjoyed by all and more than £6,100 was raised for the lodge’s 2015 charities — Erskine Home for veterans, Sir Gabriel Wood’s Mariners’ Home, Children in Poverty Inverclyde and Dreams Come True Inverclyde.

RWM Bro Captain Allan MacFeate nominated the first three charities, while the fourth was the choice of Provost Robert Moran.

Bro Cllr David Wilson, Deputy Provost of Inverclyde, represented the Provost at the Burns Supper while Bro Billy McCready, President of The Mother Club, was also at the top table.

The event was filled with fun and laughter and there was a great community spirit in the magnificent old hall.

After the haggis had been piped in by Bro Alasdair Beaton, Past Master of Lodge The Gael No 609 and affiliate member of No XII, and addressed by Bro Alan Beck IPM, The Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master of Renfrewshire West, Bro James P Livingstone, led the brethren in grace.

RWM Bro MacFeate proposed the Loyal Toast. Bro Iain White PM reprised the role he played in 2012 by delivering the Immortal Memory.

This time he had a focus on friendship and how Burns had many friends because of his nature and sociability. These friends had a significant impact on Burns’ life and works and this notion was teased out by Bro Iain.

The Toast to the Lassies was delivered by Bro Iain Gordon, JD The Bridgeton and Glasgow Shamrock and Thistle Lodge No 275, and he too had spoken in 2012. A retired senior police officer who served in Greenock, Bro Iain drew on his life in ‘the polis’ and linked many hilarious stories to where he had served as one of ‘Strathclyde’s Finest’.

As well as provoking much laughter among the company, Bro Iain gave an insight into the way in which Robert Burns’ fondness for the Lassies impacted on his poetry.

Bro Cllr David Wilson, Deputy Provost of Inverclyde and Honorary Member of No XII, amused the gathering with his tales which loosely fitted the programme description — ‘Deputy Provost’s Remarks’.

Bro David also spoke of the close relationship between No XII and the Corporation and Council stretching back as far as 1766.

There was an energetic recitation of Tam o’ Shanter by David Vennard, of the Glasgow Kilwinning Lodge No 4, and Bro Sandy Reddy, HM No XII, recited Holy Willie’s Prayer.

The accompanist for the evening was Craig Dunsmore. He was joined on trumpet by Jamie Stables and Alasdair McCorkell and on drums by Andy McAlees while Bro Alan Beck IPM sang.

Bro Ian Ross PM was chairman for the night. Bro Bob Bain PM proposed a comprehensive vote of thanks.

The success of the fundraising was undoubtedly due to the persuasive powers of No XII’s auctioneer, Bro Paul Galbraith and croupiers Bros James McGregor Sr and WJW Bob Crossan.

The lodge was delighted with support given by other local organisations that had guests present, particularly Greenock Wanderers RFC and Lodge Firth of Clyde Gourock No 626.

Of course, numerous other Lodges within and outwith the area were represented and many friends of No XII attended.

The company singing the Auld Lang Syne rounded off the evening.

Inverclyde’s oldest organisation — it was instituted in 1728 — will continue the charity drive with further activities throughout the year.

Next year’s Burns Supper is already organised for Saturday 27 February.

The accompanying photograph shows, back row from left: Bros Bob Bain PM, Sandy Reddy, Billy McCready, President of The Mother Club, RWPGM James P Livingstone, David Vennard and Alasdair Beaton. Front: Bros Iain Gordon, Iain White PM, Ian Ross PM, RWM Allan MacFeate and Deputy Provost David Wilson.