It was an unfriendly welcome that awaited Robert Burns on his one and only visit to Selkirk in 1786.
He was refused hospitality by the local doctor as he stayed overnight at Veitch’s Inn near West Port – a story recalled by Hawick’s Ian Landles when he proposed the toast to the Immortal Memory at the town’s Rotary Club Burns supper.
But if the star of Burns was shining down on the royal burgh last week, he would have seen a far different reception for his work and memory.
At the County Hotel, club members and guests were celebrating the bard’s birth, along with Rotarians globally, who feel an obvious empathy with the person who wrote “and man to man the world o’er will brothers be for a’ that”.
Piper Colin Turnbull led in the haggis carried aloft by apprentice chef Ross Scott. One of the club’s newest members, Jim Thomson, addressed the haggis in the words of Burns.
The toast to the Immortal Memory, proposed in his own inimitable style by Ian Landles, was greeted with great enthusiasm as were songs from Tommy Knox and Jimmy Gibb.
Langholm Rotarian Kenneth Pool proposed a toast to The Lassies which was responded to by Scottish Borders councillor Michelle Ballantyne.
Club president Doug Forsyth presided over the evening and a vote of thanks to everyone was given by senior vice-president Herbert Chatters.