Members of the Board

The Robert Burns World Federation is managed by a Board of volunteer Directors, who are also Trustees made up as follows:

Members of the Board for the period 2020 - 21 are as follows:

The Robert Burns World Federation Ltd is managed by a Board of volunteer Directors, made up as follows:

Three office-bearers

President - Marc Sherland -

Marc became a Burnsian by accident, well not quite true, he has always been a Burns enthusiast, but not a formal member of a Burns Club until 2016, when he was cajoled by then President Calum Cormack to join the Cumbernauld and District Burns Club. That Marc had gone on to other things in the Burns movement is probably an understatement. He is currently Senior Vice President of three Burns organisations as well as providing secretarial support for a number of clubs.

Born in Kent in 1956, Marc moved to Scotland when he was two years old. He is self employed and has been since 1990, though if you find him staring at your jewellery don’t be too alarmed, he is probably appraising it, as he started out as an assistant manager in 'H Samuel' the jeweller.

Marc ran an entertainment business for many years and was a DJ, who provided karaoke and MCs to many Scottish venues. He is also a performance poet, writer and folklorist, with stories, poems and factual articles in print and was both founder of the Federation of Writers (Scotland) and later the President of the Scottish Association of Writers.

In 2019 he designed three early learning packs on Robert Burns and the Scottish Leid for use in Schools, during Schools Competitions and for Burns Clubs. These will be available from the RBWF website in the near future.

SVP - Henry Cairney -

Henry is an Ayrshire man and went to school in Irvine attending Loudon Primary, Loudon Montgomery and Irvine Royal Academy. He also spent many years before moving to Canada as a musician, playing accordion and keyboards in various bands, playing and singing many of Robert Burn’s songs in many settings including Burns suppers. He arranges and composes the songs for the Calgary Burns Club Singers. He retired in August 2018 as a Director of Engineering from Suncor Energy in Calgary Alberta Canada after 47 years in engineering, with the last 32 years in various management roles. He is a Life member of Irvine Burns Club, a member of Medicine Hat Burns Club, President of the Calgary Burns Club for a second time and is President of the Robert Burns Association of North America (RBANA). He is also the compiler, publisher and Editor-in chief of the Calgary Burns Club’s ‘Calgary Clavers’ newsletter.

Henry has been married to Shona for the past 47 years, and they have a son and a daughter and 5 grandchildren.

JVP - Alan Beck -

Alan studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and won many singing prizes and awards.

He made his operatic début in 1990 for Scottish Opera and moved on to Opera Ireland. He was a principal tenor with the State Opera, Stuttgart from 1996 to 2002, and has also sung principal tenor roles for Lyric Opera Dublin, the Carl Rosa Opera and English National Opera. In 2003, Alan formed the Scottish three-tenor group, Caledon and since then he has sung all over the world for Burns Clubs and Scottish Societies.

Alan has taught singing for many years in organisations such as the Junior Royal Northern College of Music, the Junior Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and The National Youth Choir of Scotland. He is currently the Vocal Coach for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra Chorus.  

Alan has always been a great admirer of Burns and has delivered the Immortal Memory numerous times each year since 2005. He has been singing Burns for 45 years and cannot count the number of events where he has performed the Bard’s songs. 

Alan served as President of The Greenock Burns Club from 2019 – 2020. As President he launched a campaign to have a statue of Burns erected in Greenock and commissioned HM’s Sculptor in Ordinary in Scotland to create a maquette of his vision. Alan is keenly interested in researching Burns and has a particular interest in the creation of the Burns Movement. 

Thematic Committee Conveners and one Non-Executive Director

Marketing Convener – Neil McNair -

Heritage Convener – John Hannah -

Education Convener – Lesley Macdonald -

Literature Convener – Mike Duguid -

Mike Duguid is a retired RAF Wing Commander who now lives in Twynholm, Dumfries and Galloway. He grew up in Banchory, Kincardineshire and, after school in Aberdeen, he joined the RAF in 1964 and served for 37 years as an aeronautical engineer.  

It was a posting to Omaha, Nebraska, in 1989 that launched his involvement with organizing and speaking at Burns Suppers.  He organized and chaired several Burns Suppers on behalf of the Scottish Society of Nebraska.  On returning from America, he became an active member of the Burns Club of London.  He was heavily involved in the club’s Robert Burns bi-centenary celebrations in 1996. 

After retiring from the RAF in 2001 he became a full-time student and gained a first class Honours degree in Scottish Studies at Glasgow University.  Mike is President of the Gatehouse of Fleet Burns Club and is a Past President of the Dumfries and Galloway Burns Association.  

Mike was President of the Robert Burns World Federation during the special Year of Homecoming in 2009/10. He is the Convener of the Literature Committee and is also the Editor of the Federation’s very popular bi-monthly newsletter.   

Mike has been married to his wife Pat for 49 years and they have two sons and two daughters and seven grandchildren.     

Events/Conference Convener – vacant -

Finance Director - Kenneth Dalgleish -

Publicity & Comms - Trekker Armstrong -

Human Relations - Iain T Gordon -

Non-Executive Director

Membership & Volunteering & Chair of Membership Task-Force - Alan Beck -

Marketing Director - Neil McNair -

Three International Directors

Canada – Ronnie O'Byrne -

Ronnie was born near Edinburgh and started his working life as an apprentice in the engineering industry in 1972. For the past 34 years he has worked for the Israeli technology company – ISCAR Ltd.

After several appointments to Marketing and Senior Management positions in the UK and Ireland - Ronnie took over as General Manager of the Iscar Canadian subsidiary in 2007.

Ronnie’s main summer hobby is golf - his other interest is in the world of poetry, performance poetry and Scottish and Irish history. 

As a Board Member and Canadian Director of the Robert Burns World Federation Ltd and an active member of The Robert Burns Association of North America (RBANA) – Ronnie has performed at Burns Suppers and Corporate Events in the UK, Ireland, Europe and North America - as a speaker and performer of Burns poetry and song. 

He is a past winner of the Tam O’Shanter recital trophy held annually at the Globe Inn, Dumfries, Scotland – he also a published poet and twice winner of the Jack Hume Poetry writing competition hosted by Robert Burns Association of North America.

He has been married to Susan for 41 years – they have two grown up sons - and live in St Catharines, Ontario.

U.S.A. – Leslie Strachan -

Pacific Rim – John Menzies -

Additional Directors

Archivist – Bill Dawson -

Editor Chronicle - Bill Dawson -


Immediate Past President : Brian Goldie