Lamlash club are bequeathed Burns book with Arran link

Douglas Auld, chairman of Lamlash Burns Club, accepts the book from Douglas Currie.

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An extremely grateful recipient, Douglas Auld, current chairman of the Lamlash Burns Club, was recently presented with a book of The Complete Works Of Robert Burns.

The vintage tome was gifted to the club by Audrey Currie, whose late husband Bill was a decided Burns enthusiast and frequently spoke at the club’s annual Burns Supper events in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Explaining the reason for the gift, Audrey said: ‘Bill sadly passed away in June 2020 and since then I’ve been going through things, as you do in such circumstances, and rediscovered the book.

‘Although Bill was the one who could recite a wide range of Burns’ prose verbatim at the drop of a hat, the book actually came from my side of the family.

‘I believe it belonged to my great-grandfather, so it is possibly getting on for being 200 years old.

‘Rather than let it sit and gather dust, I realised there could be no better home for it than that of the club Bill was so proud of.

‘He would disappear each late January with the excuse that he was toasting lassies or addressing haggis, so I’m sure he would be very happy with my decision.

‘He was also a member of the very informal Ormidale Burns Club, which met in the Ormidale Hotel and whose elite participants were also members of the Lamlash Club.

‘I do hope they will be able to find an appropriate use for it.’

A native of Arran, Bill (known as Billy on the island) met Aberfeldy-born Audrey when they were both working at the Douglas Hotel, Brodick in the summer of 1951 and they duly got married in Brodick Church in March 1955.

The happy couple moved away from Arran as Bill pursued his highly successful career in the hotel and catering industry, whilst also raising four sons and eventually settling in East Horsley in Surrey in 1981.

Their love of the island, however, never diminished and when the boys were growing up they would holiday in Brodick every summer, usually staying with Bill’s brother Stewart and his wife Alison.

Their last visit to Arran together was in 2015 to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary and they stayed at, appropriately, The Douglas Hotel.

The book was handed to Douglas Auld by Bill and Audrey’s son, also Douglas, whilst he was visiting Arran for a holiday with his wife Siegi in April.

Douglas explained: ‘When my mother heard we were coming to the island, she asked if I would take the book and meet Douglas Auld to hand it over in person. It was a pleasure to do so, as I am very proud of my Arran roots and to be able to do something that would possibly further strengthen our family’s connection with such a magical place was an honour.’

A delighted Douglas Auld enthused: ‘Lamlash Burns Club is highly honoured that Audrey has donated Burns’ Works to the club.

‘I never met Bill but I have been reliably informed that he was a very passionate Burns enthusiast and wonderful performer of many of Burns songs and poems. The 458-page tome will take pride of place at our annual suppers for years to come.’

Billy Currie toasting the lassies at The Auchrannie on January 24, 2004.

Billy Currie toasting the lassies at The Auchrannie on January 24, 2004. No_B24Burns01

Douglas Auld, chairman of Lamlash Burns Club, accepts the book from Douglas Currie. No_B24Burns02