As my year of office begins, I am filled with an air of anticipation. There are already many functions, events, celebrations to look forward to and, as I am already finding, it is almost a full time job.

During the Aberdeen international Youth Festival this year, at which our major prize-winners were present to represent the Federation, someone asked me€¦

"What does it take to become President Jim?"

I responded by saying€¦€ "A love and knowledge of Burns, a love and knowledge of the workings of the Federation, willing to give unselfishly of your time and talent, and it also helps if you are aff yer heid."

Standing in the corridor of the foyer at Peebles Hydro welcoming our delegates to the conference, I had warmth and a glow from the hearts of attendees, who like me, proudly state that we are a Burns Family and how we love to meet with each other and celebrate our mutual love for all things connected with Burns.

This was all too apparent at the conference which has been generally acknowledged to have been one of the best for many years. Again may I take this opportunity to thank all of you for your good wishes, gestures of support and the beautiful cards, some of which were individually hand crafted for the occasion? I shall treasure them among my souvenirs.

Better views are on the horizon as we move forward and I have a great team behind me both on the board of directors and on the Executive Committees and together, with your continued support , we can improve our workings, making the wider public aware of who we are, what we do and be seen to be an organisation with two way vision, one which looks back to a proud heritage of where we have come from, and another, which is looking to the future, a future we can help to shape, a future in which the bond we share will drive us forward proud of who we are and what we represent.

I am YOUR President. As stated above, my time and my talents are at your disposal, so please do continue to invite me to your events and be assured that if I am not already committed, I should be delighted to offer my services to assist in any way I can.