At 11.00 p.m. at John Rae's grave side in Kirkwall cathedral a piper played beautiful music, which John Rae and his wife, Kate would have been delighted to hear. A short address on the subject of John Rae and the acquisition of his family home The Hall of Clestrain was given by Andrew Appleby. The event was recorded by Dave Gray of Radio Orkney and aired next day.
Our John Rae birthday party was this year at The Royal Hotel, Stromness in their aptly named 'Hudson Bar' was free to attend and was well attended. Dr. Barbara Rae, artist and lecturer made a special effort to attend from way South. The splendid Traditional music by Fiona Drever was so apt for the occasion and much appreciated.
Tom Muir proposed the Toast after excellent anecdotes of Inuit custom and Englishmen’s lack of understanding: Namely a Polar Bear’s head and its heart in its mouth. I’ll not detail the response of the British exploratory force, but it did them no good at all!
THE CAKE! A magnificent creation was produced by Argo’s Bakery. The sheer magic of modern technology produced a splendid confection fit for our hero: Sigrid Appleby cut the first slice and all enjoyed the chunks. There was some left, so we donated it to St Peter’s House Care Home.
The Raffle enthralled all. Exciting prizes were handed out to thankful recipients. We sold plenty of Lottery tickets too; there were some kind donations too and new memberships.
We were all delighted to have attended this very special occasion, marking the historic purchase of Clestrain, and The John Rae Society’s commitment to preserve his family home. A huge cheer erupted at the announcement, made just prior to Tom’s Toast.
Many thanks to the Events Committee for organising THE JOHN RAE BIRTHDAY PARTY.
- Andrew Appleby, JRS Chairman