A Short Autumn bulletin

I am pleased to let you know about the activities of the RBWF Board which met last week and adopted the New Directions paper, which provides the start of a route map for the next few months and years. There is an ancient Chinese proverb which states ‘Paths are made by those who walk on them’ and that is very true of the journey the Federation is starting. I remember reading about the journeys of Robert Burns around Scotland, even venturing into England and recall thinking how easy it is to dismiss the difficulties of such trips, until you consider the rough tracks, hours on horseback, no convenience stores along the way and even the risk of injury and danger with no police force or ambulance service. Also unlike today when social opportunities to visit foreign places are commonplace (once lockdown ceases), then for a man of farming stock to engage in such travel might be more akin to journeying to the North pole.

One of the initiatives which I mentioned at my inauguration was the opening of an Immortal Memory book in the Headquarters in Kilmarnock and I thought I should give some detail of how this will work. Anyone wishing to commemorate a Burnsian, should submit by post or email (admin@rbwf.org.uk) a single A4 page of text detailing the birth, death and significant details of the person they wish remembered, giving note of the Burns clubs and notable things within that person’s life. A photo might also be sent. When we have received the page it will be edited and placed into a ring binder that will be available to view.

Another opportunity that I can announce today is the setting up of a poetry competition based on the form which Robert Burns particularly enjoyed using the ‘Habbie stanza’ and we would encourage anyone with poetic inspiration to enter. Final submission will be St Andrew’s Day 30th November. Along with this notice we are attaching the competition entry details.

Tamfest is also almost upon us and you will find details of the programme at www.tamfest.co.uk  We are currently offering three ways to take part. Firstly, between the dates of 1st October and the 12th, we are encouraging you to use Twitter to send in a photo, details and location including GPS (where possible) of Statues of the famous Scotsman, Robert Burns or references to his work in physical form, using the hashtag #RabBurnsWorld. We are also welcoming reciters of Tam o’ Shanter from across the world to enrol as competitors and indeed the judges will sit on either side of the ‘Pond’, making on Saturday 10th October our Tam the Glorious, simply that! One of the RBWF Directors, Bill Dawson will also be offering a Zoom Lecture on “Tam o’ Shanter; A Tale of its First Publication” and we are placing this deliberately at a time to suit as many of our international members as possible on Wednesday 7th October at 7pm GMT. There may also be another couple of lectures added in which we will announce in due course.

As ever I would encourage you to recommend to your friends membership of the Federation as individual members and also that you consider buying a ‘Friendship Tile’ to adorn the walls of the headquarters in Kilmarnock. Details on the website www.rbwf.org.uk

Alan Beck, JVP and the Membership & Volunteering Director, has asked me to let you know that we will be putting out a survey to ask your opinion about what you want from the Federation and we would ask that you help us by filling this out.