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The Reception

The Reception

The Reception

ReceptionWe were ushered up to the noisy, excited, throng overlooking Horse Guards Parade. I plugged in my computer and emailed what pictures I had to be shown in Orkney. Alistair,  after a while tapped his glass and welcomed everyone and thanked the many who had contributed to the splendid occasion. He made special thanks to Jennifer Wrigley for playing her moving piece, ‘Air to Dr. John Rae.’ 



A Rae family tree was brought out.  

An ancient newspaper cutting referring to John Rae’s expedition team was revealed.

Sandy Firth 1 - Neil Kermode 2 & Sandy and Hilda
SandyNeil Sandy
Harvey Johnston was called upon to read out his newly composed poem Rae in the Abbey

AndrewSpeachThen I was asked to say a few words. I thanked our board of Trustees for their immense support during the whole planning operation to the events, and wished them every success in the concurrent happenings in Orkney. I also had the honour of bestowing Honourable Life Memberships to Hugh and Erica Halcro-Johnston for tireless works connected to The Hall of Clestrain. Another duo of Life Memberships was bestowed on Sandy and Hilda Firth. I think it came as quite a surprise to them. I explained that it was his cleaning of John Rae’s grave over the years, which became one of the inspirations to form JRS. Ray Mears and his wife Ruth were there. It was for me to proudly announce that Ray had agreed to be our third Patron.

A great cheer resounded, and I thought this the right moment to introduce the Orkney Cog that David Reid had organized. He emailed the recipe to James A. Stewart, Alistair’s parliamentary researcher, who made no bad job of it. A final presentation was to Alistair himself of a wee cog and a miniature of Highland Park, which he and I justly shared. I did not forget, whilst all this was going on, to ask Harvey Johnston to read out his newly composed poem to John Rae. This he did movingly to the sipping of Cog.


Many fascinating introductions were made during the passing of the Cog. Facts were swapped and new friends made whilst the cog was refilled and passed again and again.
Thanking everyone concerned for a very happy occasion.

Andrew Appleby.


Arctic Return

We have heard from our friends in Canada that there is an expedition to the arctic planned in 2019 in commemoration of John Rae's exploits. This is from the expedition website


John Rae to be given the Freedom of Orkney

The Presentation of this honour will be made by the Council in Stromness on Saturday 30th September 2017 all welcome. The News that the The Orkney Isles Council is awarding Dr.


Our Lottery Prizes for 2017

These are some of the great prizes that can be won in this year's John Rae Society Lottery. We will be drawing this on John Rae's birthday 30th September, so



Talk by Tom Muir

In the Wake of John Rae A review of the talk by Tom Muir at Stromness Town Hall Monday 2nd April 2018, 7.30pm An audience of around fifty enjoyed a talk by


Nature Festival - John Rae Trail

As part of the 2017 Orkney Nature Festival, the John Rae Society ran a Family John Rae Explorer Trail around Stromness on Friday 19th May, led by Rachel Boak, from


JRS Lottery draw

The John Rae Society lottery draw was drawn on Sunday 18th Dec at 8pm at the Pomona inn, Finstown. Our Thanks to everyone who bought tickets.                 Drawing the tickets were honorary


Support Us


Membership is open to any person, or corporate body, who has an interest in the life of John Rae and supports the aims and objectives of The John Rae Society

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As a Registered Charity we are always needing funding for many projects within a variety of time frames. We are grateful for anything you can afford and you can donate by PayPal, cheque or BACS.

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John Rae


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