PUPILS at St Ronan’s Primary in Innerleithen toasted the Bard on Thursday, by hosting their 34th annual Burns Lunch.

The event was arranged by youngsters in Primary 7 for guests from the community, as well as P6 and P7 friends from partner school – Walkerburn.

It was also a chance to commemorate Robert Burns’ visit to Innerleithen in 1787, when he took tea at Pirn House where the school now stands.

In the chair this year was Leah Currie, while piper Jim Hamilton of Innerleithen Pipe Band piped in the haggis and Kitty Volino gave a stirring Address to the Haggis. 

Stuart Mitchell said the Selkirk Grace before a team of P5 waiters and waitresses served-up the traditional meal of haggis, neeps and tatties – all prepared by the St Ronan’s kitchen staff.

Headteacher Keith Belleville said: “Following the meal, a number of pupils delivered well-researched and humorous speeches.Ana Thomson proposed The Immortal Memory, which was accompanied by an imaginative slideshow.

“She reminded everyone of the Bard’s humble beginnings, visit to Innerleithen and colourful lifestyle.

“The Toast to the Lassies was proposed by Ruairdh Henderson who recounted Burns’ love of the lassies, while taking the chance to gently poke fun at the girls, ultimately acknowledging that he couldn’t live without them! 

“Cara Naylor replied on behalf of the lasses and managed to get a bit of her own back.”

Other toasts and replies were also given by Ben Cotter (To Oor Guests), Kayla Tennant (Thanks to the Artistes) and Luca Hamilton (Vote of Thanks to the Chair). 

The P6 and 7 pupils from Walkerburn – Lauren Ashworth, Kaden Hunter, Melissa Lucas, Thomas Wilson, Kayleigh Zokas, Kayla Amos, Murray Anderson, Jura Houston and Tiegan Hunter – delivered the reply on behalf of the guests as a song written especially for the occasion.

Mr Belleville added: “Each young person taking part was very accomplished in the delivery of their lines.

“The chief guest for the day was Rev Janice Faris, school chaplain for the last 17 years. 

“She gave an excellent address, recounting her time as Parish Minister and chaplain to the school and how she had learned about Burns from her attendance at events like the St Ronan’s Burns Lunch. 

“The also explained that she was retiring in the summer and that she would miss coming into the school and working with everyone.She also presented the awards to the winners of the poetry competition.”

During the lunch, the choir sang their own version of the Dougie MacLean hit, ‘Caledonia’, while the children from P1 got in on the act with a Scottish version of the Hokey Cokey – The Shooglie Wooglie.

Mr Belleville added: “The lunch was packed full of entertainment. Throughout the afternoon the winners of the whole school Scots poetry recitation competition entertained with their verses, which ranged from the works of J.K. Annand to Burns himself and showed off the considerable talent from across the school.”

The Burns Lunch closed with the singing of ‘Auld Lang Syne’.