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.


John Rae appointed as honorary chartered surveyor by RICS

The achievements and life of pioneering Scottish explorer and surveyor Dr John Rae were celebrated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) today. Fronted by RICS President John Hughes, RICS


Pre-Order Michael Palin's new book on Erebus

A chance to pre -order Michael Palin’s new book  “ Erebus the story of a ship” . Every one bought from us will help to go towards the restoration fund for


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



2018 AGM dates announced

Our next AGM will be at the Pomona inn Finstown on Sunday 4th November at 7.30pm All are welcome


Ian Ritchie CBE Exhibition of giclée prints for sale in aid of JRS

AT STROMNESS LIBRARY FROM JULY TO OCTOBER 2018 Warehouse Buildings, 2 -12 Victoria Street Monday 9:15am–7pm Tuesday 9:15am–5pm Wednesday 9:15am–5pm Thursday 9:15am–7pm Friday 9:15am–5pm Saturday 9:15am–5pm Sunday Closed email: This email address


Gala Event and Birthday celebrations

and Charity Auction Sunday 30th September. 7.30 p.m{John Rae’s 205th Birthday}At The New Orkney Distillery & Visitor centre The new John Rae FanfareFinger Buffet, Coffee, Refreshments, Tastings, MusicCharity Auction with Rare Whisky,


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John Rae