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Burns Suppers: How the north-east toasted the Immortal Memory over the years

Tibby Main, one of the residents at Mark Bush Court, Kincorth, is obviously enjoying herself as she addresses the haggis at the court's Burns Supper in 1990. Aiding and abetting are chef John Wilson and piper Gordon Luke,
Tibby Main, one of the residents at Mark Bush Court, Kincorth, is obviously enjoying herself as she addresses the haggis at the court's Burns Supper in 1990. Aiding and abetting are chef John Wilson and piper Gordon Luke,

Glasses will be raised in tribute to Robert Burns, Scotland’s National Bard in Aberdeen and right across the north-east today.

However, the coronavirus means traditional Burns Suppers – complete with traditions such as the Address To The Haggis, the toast to the Immortal Memory – cannot take place this year.

But we have opened our archives to take a look at how Burns Night has been celebrated over the years.

Westhill and District and St Fittick’s Rotary clubs had an international evening in 1990 when they got together at the Westhill Hotel for a Burns Supper. Toasting the haggis was retired drama teacher Dorothy Taylor, from Kintore.

The Evening Express Burns Supper in the Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen, in 1978 was a huge success with more than 500 people toasting the memory of Scotland’s Bard. Pictured piping in the haggis is Carol Sim. Compere was Robbie Shepherd and music was provided by the Jack Sinclair Band.


Burns Night passengers on the Dan Air flight to London in 1989 found haggis on the menu. Dan air hostess Karen Riddoch and chef Mr Glen Candlish hold the haggis as Pipe Major Jim Taylor, of Grampian Police Pipe Band, pipes them on board. Looking on are passengers Fred Jones and David Anderson.


The poor haggis didn’t stand a chance at the Eastern Star Burns Supper in Peterhead Masonic Hall in 1989 when William Gordon drew out a sword ready to cut it up “wi’ ready slight”.


Abbotswell Primary School held a Burns Supper in 2004, when pupil Craig Douglas piped in the haggis.


Burns Night is celebrated in all parts of the globe – even on a North Sea oil platform. Our picture from 1980 shows Pipe-Major Ian Blair sounding a welcoming note as Burns Supper guests and some of the Auk A platform crew meet on the helicopter landing deck.


Alistair McRobb with the haggis before retired employees of Norco were treated to a Burns Supper in Norco House, Aberdeen, in 1985.


Locals toasted a right guid Burns nicht in the Five Farthings (now the Palm Court) in 1985 when management treated the regulars to a Burns Supper – free of charge. Leading the haggis into the lounge bar is head cook Fiona Taylor with piper David Noble of the Oldmeldrum British Legion Pipe Band.


In 1991, Soviet visitor Mr Leonid Litvinov (left), senior drilling manager with Sakhalin Oil and Gas, joins in the spirit of the Burns Supper as Moat House head chef Graham Fryers shows off the fare to come. Entertainment was provided by Kate Speakman, of  Westhill, and Emma Ross, of Bridge of Don.

Not strictly speaking a photo of a Burns Supper, this is the opening ceremony in 1975 of the tearoom converted from old storage cellars at Provost Skene’s House. The idea of using the space as a restaurant was inspired by a hugely successful Burns Supper held there the year before. Lady Provost Frances Smith performed the official opening.

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