East – Row 8 – 11 – Douglas/Jackson


Also CICELY MARY  their Daughter 1st mar. 1907 - 28th April 1997 and her husband   WILLIAM JACKSON  5th April 1905 -  17th July 1996. Late of the Hirsel


Bill Jackson was a stalwart of Coldstream Burns, as well as other district matters, and here is a snippet about the club from 'Seconfd to None: A History of Coldstream' which was written in 2010. Bill is mentioned in the middle:-


Coldstream Burns Club was formed in 1888 seems to have been the idea of one Willie Gray who lived at Cheviot View, East High Street. Willie was the Director and Manager of Messrs. J. and A. Davidson (Brewers) in the Market Square. He was, according to the club’s records a true Burns enthusiast and had a wide knowledge of the Bard’s works. The local doctor, Dr Dinsmore, had a similar affection for the works of Robert Burns and between them they called an initial meeting at which the doctor took the Chair. Willie Gray was proposed as Secretary and John Scott, who lived on the ‘Toun Brae’, became Treasurer. The first official Burns Supper was held on 25 January 1888 and was attended by twenty three founder members, who were Doctor Dinsmore, Willie Gray, John Scott, J. Burns (later Coldstream Provost), A. Bennet  (Joiner), R. Bennet  (Joiner), J. Carmichael (Belle Vue), W.A. Deas (Solicitor), T.B. Ford (Sonny’s grandfather), J. Fulton (Skaithmuir), W. Gilchrist, W. Henderson (Shoemaker), W. Hepburn (Veterinary Surgeon), A. Haig (Saddler), D. McLean (Hirsel), R. Rule (Plasterer), James Smith, John Smith, A. Scott (Market Square), Doctor Turnbull, J.W. Wilson (Grocer), P. White and William Scott (Fisherman).
They each paid two shillings and sixpence to establish an expense fund and after the first year the cost of membership was reduced to one shilling. The club records for the period 1900 to the start of the Second World War reveal a few interesting facts. Here are some of them:-
Lord Dunglass, who became the 13th Earl of Home, was elected Chairman in 1906 and held that office until 1949. The constitution had to be changed to allow him to continue as chairman but this was recorded as beneficial because of his stewardship and ability to attract quality speakers.
By 1906 the membership had increased to fifty six.
There were no Burns suppers held between 1914 and 1919 but the club still functioned. Subscriptions were collected and sent to members of the Coldstream public serving in the forces.
On 7 May 1926 the Club unveiled a plaque on the western parapet of the Coldstream Bridge to commemorate Burns’s visit to the town during his tour of the Borders in 1787. His visit to Coldstream is recorded elsewhere in the book.
In 1929 Willie Gray was presented with a three feet high statue of Robert Burns for forty years of dedication to the club. The statue was later donated to the club and it is brought out every year for display at the annual suppers.
Willie Gray died in 1940 having served the club for an incredible fifty two years. His period of office is unlikely to be equalled although astonishingly there were only three secretaries in the first hundred years of the club’s existence. Willie Gray’s death was announced in the ‘Berwickshire Advertiser’ of 1940 and there was shock to read of another Willie Gray’s death in 1941 too. However, this was Willie’s son, Willie Jnr, who died at sea. Apparently, while away he left his father’s Burns Club records with his sister, they were loaned out to somebody and were never seen again! Willie’s successor at the Burns Club was Jim Marjoribanks, father of Alastair Marjoribanks of the Market Square and he lived at 28 High Street and worked for Carmichael, Seeds Merchants. He held the Secretary’s post for 16 years.
He was followed by Bill Jackson who worked as a joiner on the Hirsel Estate and lived at the Homestead. He was a mainstay of the club for a considerable period, holding the position of Secretary for 33 years. Bill was extremely well-versed in Burns, and well-known in Burns circles, not only in Scotland but further afield in the UK and the world. To underline this point, Bill was elected in 1985 as Honorary President of the Robert Burns World Federation and his efforts on behalf of the club will never be forgotten. The fourth Secretary of the Club was John Fulton, latterly until his retirement in 2009, Headteacher of Swinton Primary School and he lives at 28 High Street, the same address as one of his predecessors. Although his tenure as Secretary was relatively short (nine years) his contribution was no less important. Being younger, he brought fresh ideas on how the job of Secretary should be approached and how the club should be run. In so doing, he was instrumental in attracting a whole new batch of members, many of them younger, to the extent that the membership increased substantially and soon reached the figure of one hundred and fifty, the maximum the club rules permit.
The club has also been well served by its Treasurers, two of whom were particularly active. Firstly, Gideon Rodger held the position between 1971 and 1986. ‘Gid’, as he was affectionately known, was the Manager of the Lennel Knitwear factory at the Gallowsknowe and he lived in Victoria Place. Then Gerald Tait was Treasurer for a sixteen year period up until 2003 and he was the driving force behind an earlier publication on the history of the Burns Club entitled ‘Coldstream Burns Club – in the 21st Century’. The club can boast some excellent Chairmen over the years including Robert Smith, proprietor of W.E. Howden on the High Street and living at West Braes, High Street, who has been at the helm for the past thirteen years. Going back in time, Hans Langmack, an ex-Provost of the Burgh, was chairman between 1956 and 1968. James Davidson followed Hans as Chairman and remained in the position for twenty six years which speaks volumes for his popularity and commitment.
James is now Honorary President of the Club. Coldstream Burns Club is considered to be the only one in the world to have had as its President an ex-Prime Minister, though the Club is still waiting to be told otherwise! Through Lord Dunglass (13th Earl) the club had a long association with the Douglas–Home family and Sir Alec (14th Earl) became a member of the Club in 1960 and served as President until his death in 1995. With a wealth of talent in the town, the annual suppers have never lacked for entertainment, be it in the form of recitation, singing or instrumental accomplishment. The club has had high profile speakers, amongst them the renowned Scottish author Nigel Tranter who wrote in the Club’s record, “You sent me away with a warm feeling of good fellowship and gratitude. Long may Coldstream Burns Club flourish as it so patently deserves”.
In 2002 the club committee decided to hold an annual ceremony at the Tweed Bridge to commemorate the visit of Burns to the town in 1787. The event has gone from strength to strength since then and now attracts guests from the locality and beyond. The club has also erected an interpretation board between the bridge and the top of the Nun’s Walk (Braeheads) which tells the story of the visit. With 2009 marking the 250th anniversary of Burns’ birth, the celebrations were the most ambitious to date. Entering its 121st year, the club is robust with a full membership and a strong committee of Burns enthusiasts, more than ready to preserve one of the town’s oldest clubs.

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