Wallace Day in Elderslie this year was such a blast.
The feeling of camaraderie & friendship pervaded the whole day & evening.
The sun shone as we set off, led by the fantastic Tulliallan Pipes & Drums.
The skirl of the pipes filled the air & the air filled the banners.
As we reached the monument, we realised just how big a turnout it was.
After the introductions, the wreath was laid by Amber McCann. Duncan asked for a minute’s silence & to also remember our recently departed friend, Lachlan McCann.
The piper then played the lament.
Then it was the turn of the speakers. First up was our Liaison Officer in the USA, Randy Dedrickson, who told the attentive crowd why Americans love Scotland, & why they revere Sir William Wallace. A very emotional speech, it moved the audience visibly.
Next was our friend from Greece, author & playwright, Konstantina Ritsou. She spoke of the oppression of the inequality of Scotland & England & why we need a modern day William Wallace to free our country once more.
The international flavour continued with our next speaker, a very good friend from Germany, Petra Segrodnik, who gave a heartfelt speech about how, every time she has visited our shores, she has always found the Scots friendly & helpful. She spoke about how much Wallace’s story meant to her & to others in many other countries around the world.
Our final speaker was our own home-grown Scot, Lesley Matthews. Lesley had only spoken once for the SOWW, in March this year, but you would not have thought it.
For such a wee lassie, she has such a commanding presence in front of a microphone it is just astonishing. Without notes, she delivered a heartfelt speech which struck a chord with our audience. Beginning with a few nods of agreement, it soon built to a roar of approval from the crowd. A master class in public speaking, I was as mesmerised as everyone else. The sustained round of applause when she finished said it all.
Back at the hall, old & new friends mingled as got ready for the evening event.
Prior to the entertainment, there were a few awards to be given. Amber received the David R. Ross Award on behalf of Lachlan. Randy was presented with 2 walking canes from Tom, & from Lily, a lovely gift box containing 2 thistle-shaped-whisky glasses & a bottle of malt.
Young Stephanie was gifted a piece of Wallace Tartan, which she had been saving hard for, & Glen Wood was presented with a dirk, donated by Gary.
Newly joined Lisa Newns, had travelled up from London to be here & donated some paintings for the raffle. She asked to say a few words & thanked all her new friends for the fantastic welcome.
Our very own travelling minstrel, Ted Christopher started us off & the birling began.
Next were Frank Boyd, George Thom & Kate Smith, who went through a repertoire of traditional Scottish songs.
After a break, during which we auctioned a specially made Wallace gold pendant, donated by Petra, which went to Randy for £55. This money was a special gift from Petra to Amber & the girls.
Next was the raffle, with many prizes donated by members & friends.
The second half exploded into action when Skiltron took the stage. Their blend of Celtic Rock/Metal always a winner. Even Faither was joining in!
As the crowd got their breath back, we had a competition for a special bottle of Glengoyne, valued at £95, donated by Steve Murray.
As the audience took turns to throw or roll £1 coins at it, the nearest to the bottle would be declared the winner. As luck…or skill would have it, it was won by Big George.
To round off the evening, Ted returned to the stage accompanied by George Thom & Kate Smith.
As the crowd got to their feet & sung along with every word, it was as if everyone was performing that night.
Overall, a very good day for the Society, our members, our newly joined members & the public as a whole.
Thank you all for contributing to a great day.