The 2020 Guest Speakers with current office bearers
Our Guest Speakers in 2020 were:-
The Immortal Memory – The Very Rev William C Hewitt
For our Immortal Memory this year we were privileged to have a speaker from the heart of Burns Country. Bill Hewitt was born, raised and educated in Kilmarnock.
Following his university education in Glasgow, Bill followed his vocation to the Ministry of the Church of Scotland. He was Minister in Elderslie for 16 years and then Greenock for 18 years before serving as Presbytery Clerk in Glasgow from 2012 until he retired in 2017. He was persuaded to come out of retirement last year and now works as Presbytery Clerk in Annandale and Eskdale.
Bill was for many years involved in wider Church work, and accepted appointments to a number of Boards and Committees, and in 2009-10 served as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, visiting Inverness as one of his Presbytery visits.
In his leisure time Bill enjoys golf; he is a past President of Johnstone Rotary Club and as a Burns enthusiast is a renowned speaker at Burns events here at home and abroad, and is a past President of Greenock Burns Club.
Bill is married to Moira, who will also be our guest at our Annual Supper, and we very much look forward to hosting them on 24th January.
Toast to the Lasses – Wm John Matheson BEM
John Matheson is widely known throughout the Highlands as ‘John the Prof’. John was born and raised in Sutherland, but has lived in Nairn for many years where he worked with the Scottish Ambulance Service until his retirement.
John has long been interested in Scottish music and for many years hosted a weekly programme on Moray Firth Radio, and still carries on that work entertaining audiences at home and around the world though Internet Radio from his home in Nairn.
Over the years, John has been involved in numerous charity events around the Highlands, giving freely of his skills as an entertaining Master of Ceremonies at many fundraising functions including Eden Court presentations. As a keen musician himself John is a member of Forres Accordion & Fiddle Club Players, and was drum major of Nairn Pipe Band until last year; at the end of the Pipe Band’s annual march through the town to start off the 2018 Nairn Highland Games, he was greeted by the Lord Lieutenant for the County George Asher and by Provost Laurie Fraser, and was presented with the British Empire Medal for services to Scottish Culture.
John makes the Toast to the Lasses this year, and we are assured of an entertaining speech.
Reply frae the Lasses – Fiona MacDonald
Fiona was born and raised in the Great Glen and has chosen to keep that as her home base despite work commitments far and wide. She holds the distinction of being one of only a handful of girls who attended St Benedict’s Abbey School Fort Augustus, following in the footsteps of her late father who not only attended the school but also later joined the staff and is still remembered as a legendary Sports Master. Fiona is therefore well prepped to respond to a Toast to the Lasses!
Fiona’s Tertiary Education was at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama where she studied Classical Singing and Piano, and later on she studied by distance learning and gained a CertHE in the Gaelic and Related Studies Scheme from Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI.
Her vocal studies and interests led Fiona into Radio work, and she has been a Broadcast Journalist with BBC World Service and BBC Scotland for over 30 years. Her voice will be familiar to many of us, and for those who listen to the BBC’s World Service during the small hours it is wonderful to think that countless numbers of people around the world are hearing a good Highland Voice delivering news reports from A’ the Airts. Fiona is also a singing and voice tutor, and trains teachers and senior pupils in interview and audio skills.
As well as her busy work life, Fiona is a dedicated mother and grandmother, enjoys travel and still manages to take on yet more studies having recently embarked on an Open University degree course.
We look forward to hearing Fiona speak for the lasses at our Anniversary Supper.
Annual General Meeting
Members are asked to note that our AGM is held in the Lochardil House Hotel in March each year. The purpose of the meeting is to review our previous Annual Supper and elect new members to the Management Committee. Unfortunately the 2020 AGM has been postponed due to the stringent isolation measures required to control COVID 19. Watch this space for more news of our re-scheduled AGM.
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