Irvine Lasses logo


Club meetings
on Robert Burns and all things Scottish
on the first Thursday of the month
(except July and August)
here celebrating the 45th birthday of the Club in 2021

The Facebook Feed may take a few moments to appear (varies with connections & browser)

Pres and Vice-Pres

Meetings (Thursdays unless indicated otherwise)
2022 :
Apr. 8th (Fri., not Sat.) - Annual Dinner, in Riverside Lodge Hotel, Irvine
May 5 - Youth Night
June 9 - Royal Celebration
Sept. 1 - Musical Evening - Centrestage
Oct. 6 - Interclub Night
Nov. 3 - Rosemary Murdoch - 'The Duchess of Gordon'
Dec. 1 - St Andrew's Night - Stephen & Pernille Quigg
2023 :
Jan. 5 - Members' Night
Feb. 2 - Donald Wilson - 'Aiket Castle'
Feb. 4 - Annual Dinner, in Riverside Lodge Hotel
Mar. 2 - AGM
<-- President Margaret McDougall & Vice-President Margaret Greenlees

The Club is also invited to attend:
July - Armed Forces Service, Irvine Old Parish Church
July - Wreath-laying at Alloway
July - Wilson Day, Kilmarnock
Aug. 14 - Kirkin' o' the Captain of Irvine Carters Society
Aug. 21 - Kirkin' o' the Marymass Queen and Marys
and 6 pm - Marymass Service, St Mary's Church
Oct. 2 - Kirkin' of the Deacon Convener of the Incorporated Trades, Irvine Old Parish Church
Nov. 13 - Service of Remembrance, Irvine Old Parish Church
January - Kirking of the President of Irvine Burns Club, Irvine Old Parish Church, and Wreath Laying, Burns Statue on Irvine Moor


President - Margaret McDougall
Vice President - Margaret Greenlees
Treasurer - Nancy Hogg
Secretary - Barbara McInnes
Minute Secretaries - Margaret Greenlees & Nancy Hogg


Anne Kennedy
Moira McLaren
Hazel Murdoch
Rosemary Murdoch
Jean Swinley
Susan Whitelaw (ex officio)

Contact details

Irvine Lasses Burns Club
"Wellwood", 28 Eglinton Street
Irvine, KA12 8AS


visit us on Facebook

Honorary Members

Anne Gaw - 4/12/1980
Rosalind Keyte - 4/12/1980
Ursula Countess of Eglinton - 5/2/1981
Shizuko Namba - 7/2/1985
Greta Sommerville - 2/10/1986
Mary McInnes - 6/12/1990
Mae McEwan - 7/3/1991
William Morrison - 3/3/1994
David Smith - 7/3/1996
Anna Fyffe - 4/3/1999
Margaret Brown - 4/3/1999
Betty Herbertson - 7/3/2002
Jean Bell - 6/3/2003
Andrew Boyle - 3/2/2005
Margaret Cook - 9/8/2009
George Duncan - 4/2/2010
Ellen Hunter - 31/1/2015
Moira Ewing - 31/1/2015
Anne Kennedy - 2/3/2023
Jimmy Cook, piper - 2/3/2023

Past Presidents

1979: Anne Gaw
1979 - 1981: Mae McEwan
1981 - 1983: Margaret Cook
1983 - 1985: Margaret Rae
1985 - 1987: Helen Bell
1987 - 1989: Betty Herbertson
1989 - 1991: Mae McEwan
1991 - 1993: Anne Gaw
1993 - 1995: Ellen Hunter
1995 - 1997: Betty Duncan
1997 - 1999: Jessie Gray
1999 - 2001: Diana Pattinson
2001 - 2003: Margaret Cook
2003 - 2005: Moira Ewing
2005 - 2007: Ellen Hunter
2007 - 2009: Anne Gaw
2009 - 2011: Anne Kennedy
2011 - 2013: Joanne Wilson
2013 - 2015: Annie Small

Past Presidents (contd)

2015 - 2017: Cynthia Leitch
2017 - 2019: Margaret Greenlees
2019 - 2021: Rosemary Murdoch
2021 - 2023: Susan Whitelaw
2023 - : Margaret McDougall

Irvine Lasses logo

World Burns Federation # 936  

Lasses 45th anniversary


The Lasses Burns Club exhibition opened in the Townhouse in Feb. 2020

Lasses committee 2019

Committee 2019

The 2019 office-bearers and committee with the murals of Burns' life behind

weight of haggis

A haggis puzzle

'Guess the weight of the haggis' was popular at the Harbourside Festival in 2014

Burns Federation photo

Burns Federation

World Federation President Jane Brown with Alison Tait and President Annie Small (2014)

Conference fun

Conference fun

A happy group of Lasses, with whisky bottles, at the 2014 RBWF Conference

a Lasses meeting

At a meeting

Irvine Lasses Burns Club meets in the Music Room at 'Wellwood' - all welcome

A Brief History of the Club
(by Anne Gaw, in 2012) 

The club was formed in 1975 but the seeds of conception go back a bit farther than that. The main instigator of the idea was an English lady, Rosalind Keyte, a lady who admitted to having been born within the sound of the Bow Bells. She and her husband Howard lived in the South of England and had one son who met a Scots girl, married her and came to live in Ayrshire. Rosalind and Howard came to visit them about 1969 and visited Burns Cottage. It can only be said that Rosalind fell madly in love with Robert Burns - so much so that she bought a book of his poems , took it back to England and proceeded to read them, looking up the glossary for words which she did not understand. That is more than many a Scot would do. Soon after they moved to Irvine buying the shop and house beside it in Thornhouse Avenue.

I met Rosalind purely by chance in 1973-74. She recognised the name GAW and asked if I was related to Sam Gaw, Past President of Irvine Burns Club. She told me that, before moving, she had written to Andrew Hood Secretary of Irvine Burns Club asking for her name to be put forward to join the club. Being the gentleman he was, Andrew wrote back politely telling her that Irvine Burns Club was a male only club. 

“Can’t we start a Burns Club for Ladies?” was her question to me at that first meeting. There were at that time five Burns Clubs in the town, I B C, St Andrew’s Cronies, Eglinton Burns Club, Stanecastle Burns Club and Ayrshire Metal Products Burns Club, all of which held annual Burns Suppers. The crunch came in 1975, on the evening of Ayrshire Metals Burns Supper. Rosalind’s husband Howard had been invited and as he got ready to go asked an outraged Rosalind, “Are we going to commemorate his birth or his death?” Rosalind phoned me to repeat her earlier request “CAN’T WE START A BURNS CLUB FOR LADIES?” 

Rosalind had written a letter to the local paper and asked if she could add my name to hers. Before agreeing I asked her read me the letter and then to her next question “How many more names will we need?” I replied “another ten as daft as we are!” I asked her to phone me by 6pm and by 7pm we had almost 20 names. The publicity from the newspaper hastened events and the first meeting was held on 5th February 1975 in Woodlands Community Centre. 28 ladies attended. 

We began with a wide range of members with three being under 20, and were delighted to receive a telegram from Charlie Masson, President of I B C, wishing us well in our new venture.

Membership fees were £2.00 and £1.00 for Senior Citizens; weekly payments of 10p per member and 20p for visitors was established. This was to prevent people cherry-picking the meetings they wanted to come to rather than pay the membership fee. 

The name was chosen by the membership – Irvine Ladies Burns Club sounded a wee bit too posh and high-faluting for some – and eventually they decided they‘d rather be LASSES , without the “i” as they felt Burns would have spelt it. It was also agreed that everyone should be addressed on first name terms, as unmarried ladies felt it gave them equality. One elderly and much respected townswoman was shocked when I continued to call her Mrs Somerville. “Am I not a member of the club?” she asked. I found it so hard to call her Greta as I had been brought up to show respect for people like her. Greta went on to celebrate her 90th birthday with us. 

A small raffle was held each month to raise funds. At first we met for 2 hours, and it was decided by the membership not to have tea, because they did not want to waste time when they could be learning! Letting charges were waived to give us a start. In May 1975 the time was extended to 7.15 until 10.00pm. Every speaker was offered expenses as the club reckoned if they were good enough for us to want them; they shouldn’t be out of pocket for coming. 

At our first AGM in February 1976, the attendance was 55. We met in Woodlands, with a few meetings being held elsewhere for different reasons, until September 1976 when we moved to Wellwood thanks to suggestion of Andrew Hood. 

We didn’t have a chain of office to start with but in May 1975 we received a gift of £50 towards a badge of office. Robert Brown of Coventry Jolly Beggars Club offered to enquire about one for us and our badge and a collaret were made up and received by us in September 1976. The cost was £117.63. At the St Andrew’s Night Dinner a raffle raised £92.50 which was added to the Council’s £50.00 to pay for the badge. Prizes donated by members that night included a ½ gallon of whisky and a Moulinex Food Mixer. This shows how keen the first members were to get the club established. 

Over our 37 years [written in 2012] we have held some unusual events from Concerts to Mannequin Parades, Coffee mornings and Trips. We have been invited to joint meetings with most of the Ayrshire Clubs but also to Bowhill Peoples’ Burns Club in Fife and to Coventry Jolly Beggars and in every case Irvine Lasses have had a great time. We have attended conferences all over Scotland, in London Leicester, Sheffield, Newcastle and Carlisle as well as London Ontario, Winnipeg, Calgary and Atlanta.

We have many gifts from other Burns Clubs and our special silver loving cup which was gifted to us by Professor Toshio Namba. The Professor gave us a donation of £100 and a monetary gift also came from his wife Shizuko when we conferred Honorary Membership on her. The cup was fashioned by a silversmith in Dalry at a cost of £114.00 plus £15.00 for engraving. This very unique and beautiful cup is used at our Burns Suppers for the Principal Toast. 

We are now well recognised in the town and invited to take part in all Civic affairs. We parade with the Burns Club and other organisations to the Parish Church for the Burns Service, the Kirkin of the Deacon Convenor of Incorporated Trades and at Marymass for the Kirkin of the Captain of the Carters the week before Marymass and the Kirkin of the Queen and her Marys the day after We also Parade to St Mary’s for a Marymass evening Service. Our President is an official guest at the Marymass celebrations and at the prestigious Irvine Burns Club Burns Supper. 

Our Founder President Anne Gaw brought honour to our Club when she was appointed President of the Robert Burns World Federation in 1988 and took over the Presidency at the conference in Ontario Canada. Anne also served for a spell as Secretary to the R B W F .

Margaret Cook brought honour by winning the Tam o’ Shanter competition in Dumfries in 2009. 

The club is flourishing at the present time and we hope that the new members have the enthusiasm of the old so that we go from strength to strength.

Footnote: In the 2015 Provost's Civic Pride AwardsIrvine Lasses Burns Club, in partnership with Irvine Burns Club, not only topped the Arts and Culture category, but was also awarded the Provost's prize as overall winners.

Irvine Lasses Burns Club Burns Suppers

Year Venue Immortal Memory Toast to Laddies Reply
1976 Eglinton Arms Don Whyte-Sam Gaw
1977 Caledonian HallMargaret Parker Mrs WalesJim Wales
1978Caledonian HallRev MoffatMargaret CookRev J Cook
1979Caledonian HallSara CockburnRosemary FoyDavid Smith
1980Redburn HotelAnna BlairMargaret RaeBob Fraser
1981Redburn HotelCountess of EglintonAnne GawAndrew Hood
1982Redburn HotelMollie RennieHelen BellNorman Brown
1983Redburn HotelCatherine CzerkawskiMadge SmithTom Raffel
1984Grange HotelMajor John WeirBetty HerbertsonJohn Elliot
1985WoodlandsJohn InglisMaureen LeitchHarry Bull
1986WoodlandsTom McIlwraithMae McEwanJack Lovie
1987WoodlandsJay GouldBetty DuncanMatt Brown
1988WoodlandsW MillarAnne GawMike Thomson
1989WoodlandsAnne GawJean BellDavid Smith
1990Stanecastle HotelJohn RoddieMargaret CookJim Greer
1991Golf Hotel Jim CampbellAnne GawDan McNeil
1992Golf HotelRev James GreigElsie WattHugh Drennan
1993Golf HotelMargaret CookJinty BarrJim Gibson
1994Golf HotelBetty HerbertsonJanet HarkinsJim Craig
1995Golf HotelMurdo MorrisonMae McEwanTom Raffel
1996Golf HotelGeorge DuncanJessie GrayBill Cowan
1997Golf HotelWillie MorrisonDiana SheddenBill Cowan
1998Golf HotelAndrew McKeeMargaret RaeJames Clements
1999WellwoodBob DalzeilMargaret CookHarry Bull
2000WellwoodJoe CampbellMarie SomervilleJohn Young
2001WellwoodJack LovieKaren ScottJames Hazlett
2002WellwoodHugh DrennanAileen HowieBert Thomson
2003WellwoodWillie McPikeMaggie MageeHugh Hutchison
2004WellwoodAndy HowatLesley DiackRev J Smith
2005WellwoodFr Willie BoydCarrie WilsonAngus Middleton
2006WellwoodDonald ReidJennifer DaleAlistair Dale
2007Golf HotelAngus MiddletonDr P WhitfordAndy Howat
2008Irvine Winton B CBob DalzielJean HillhouseDavid Baird
2009VineburghLesley RichardsonJaney GrierGordon McConnell
2010The PufferIain DooleMarie SomervilleRev A Black
2011Menzies HotelDrew DuncanMartha McCraeRobert McCrae
2012Menzies HotelJim BolesCarrie BoaxJohn Boax
2013Menzies HotelMichael DiamondRosemary MurdochDerek Murdoch
2014Menzies HotelTim SwanPat McPheeFr Willie Boyd
2015Menzies HotelJoe McGintyAnne ClarkMartin Cassidy
2016Menzies HotelRobert TraversTracy MoynihanAndy Moynihan
2017Hallmark HotelDerek MurdochLynne BradleyGordon Mckinlay
2018Riverside Lodge HotelDr Rhona BrownLeighanne CosgroveAllen Paterson
2019Riverside Lodge HotelJane BrownDr Philippa WhitfordBill Nolan
2020Riverside Lodge HotelAnnie SmallJean SwinleyChris Waddell
2021ZoomMargaret Cook, BEMBarbara McinnesDerek Murdoch
2022Riverside Lodge HotelWillie DickIsobel McCrorieTom McCrorie
2023Riverside Lodge HotelArchie ChalmersAlison SutherlandAndrew Sutherland

© Copyright Irvine Lasses Burns Club.                       Email: