2019 Speakers

Our Guest Speakers in 2019 were:-


The Immortal Memory – Iain Harkins


Iain was born and raised on Loch Lomond-side, and on leaving Vale of Leven School became an Engineer. After his National Service he spent his working life in the Engineering Industry in Fife, much of it in the Rosyth Naval Base.

He was introduced to the Robert Burns legacy by no less a master than the late and renowned Rev James Currie, whom he knew through his involvement with the Boy Scouts movement.

Iain is a past president of the Scots Wha Hae  Burns Club (now defunct) and a past vice-president of Bowhill Peoples Burns Club in Fife. Iain is married and now lives in Birnam where he moved following his retirement, and he is a member of Perth Burns Club.

Iain is an experienced and committed Burnsian, and will deliver us an Immortal Memory to remember.


Toast to the Lasses – Charles (Charlie) Gaskin


Charlie is an Aberdonian, born and bred, and on leaving School became a joiner to trade.


From his early years, he was interested in Scottish Culture and Music, receiving a ‘mouthie’ as a Christmas gift, he became proficient in that, as well as guitar and fiddle as a youngster, and with young friends had a skiffle group in that era.

He lived and worked in Canada for quite a number of years, and on returning to Scotland revived  his interested in Scots Folk Music, met other players and wrote a number of songs including some that were selected by the late Roy Williamson of Corries fame for their ‘funny songs’ repertoire. Charlie is a member of Nairn Gaelic Choir, where he sings with our President in the bass section; he is also a member of Elgin Strathspey and Reel Society and has played with them all round the world.


He is married and now lives in Forres, where his high skill joinery work is still in demand.


Charlie has a delightful sense of humour, and although he does not claim to be a Burns ‘expert’, is sure to deliver a highly entertaining Toast to the Lasses.


Reply frae the Lasses – Gill Buchanan-Shaw


Gill was born and raised in Hamilton, Lanarkshire, and after leaving school studied law and moved to the Highlands after qualifying as a solicitor in 2002.  She specialises in employment law and discrimination issues, and after working in large commercial law firms for 15 years, she set up her own business, Buchanan Shaw Consulting Ltd, in 2015.  She also teaches employment law and HR classes at Inverness College UHI.

Gill’s family had a caravan in Maidens , Ayrshire, so she spent all of her childhood holidays in Burns country.  Her late grandfather, James Shaw, was Secretary of the Meikle Earnock Jolly Beggars Burns Club and Gill still has some of his notebooks from his time in office in the early 1920s and his treasured Burns books.

Gill is married with a nine month old son and now lives in Conon Bridge where the family have recently taken occupation of a 10 acre croft in the Heights of Dingwall and along with their cockerel and hens (‘Hector and the Quines’) moved in just before Christmas.

In her spare time, Gill is a keen Toastmaster and is a member of two local clubs.  Toastmasters International is a world-wide organisation that exists to help members improve their public speaking, communication and leadership skills.  Gill is a past President of Inverness Toastmasters and current President of North Highland Speakers, which meets in Dingwall and online.  Earlier this year, she was awarded the organisation’s highest accolade – ‘Distinguished Toastmaster’.

Gill has previously given the Reply frae the Lasses at a Burns Supper held in Invergarry Community Hall, and we are assured of a skilled and entertaining Reply.


Annual General Meeting


Members are asked to note that our AGM will be held in the Lochardil House Hotel on Tuesday 19th March 2019 at 8.00 pm. The purpose of the meeting will be to review our 2018 Annual Supper and elect new members to the Management Committee.


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"Cutting the haggis" by Kim Traynor - Wikimedia Commons

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