THE MID-SUSSEX CALEDONIAN SOCIETY

 

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The Mid Sussex Times     Tuesday 12th January 1926

 

Scots at Home at Cuckfield.

                                  A Grand Night in the Queen's Hall

 

Scots do nothing by halves! At work or at play they are thorough!

Their enthusiasm, their joviality, when among their ain folk, is good to behold.

There is no stiffness, no stand-offishness. For all comers there is a hearty welcome, and consequently an evening in the company of Scots is a real refresher.

The Mid Sussex Caledonian Society, which has in a genial Mr W. E. Mitchell, Jun. A first rate Hon Secretary and Treasurer, is to be warmly congratulated on its social and dance in Queens Hall, Cuckfield, last Friday evening, (8th January 1926).

Everything was admirably arranged, and from start to finish the greatest friendliness and good humour prevailed.

Here let us congratulate the Committee on the Hall's picturesque appearance. The eye was fascinated immediately on entering, the balloons overhead being a striking feature. Those who supervised this work were Mr W. Mackay (Gardener to Lord Denman, Balcombe Place), Mr T. Elder (Gardner to Mr W. E. Tower, Lindfield) Miss F. Mitchell and Mrs A. C. Crosley.

The Promoting Committee was representative of Mid-Sussex Scots and included the Rev. A. H. Boyd OBE, MC, (Rector of Slaugham), who made an admirable Chairman, Mr W. Black, Mr W. E. Mitchell, Miss F. Mitchell, Dr H. C. Todd and Mr and Mrs John Gibson (Cuckfield). Mr R. M, Ogilvie, Mr A. Ferguson and the Rev. R. Thaxted Cripps (Haywards Heath). Mr T. Elder, Mr A. T. Shepherd and Mrs A. C. Crosley (Lindfield). Mr and Mrs James Gibson (West Hoathly) Mr W. Mackay (Balcombe), Mr C. H. Chalmers (Horsted Keynes) Mr A. Wilson (Turners Hill) and Mr T. Robertson (Sharpthorne). The Committee men wore badges of the Murray tartan and the ladies wore Stewart tartan badges.

The Rev A. H. Boyd and Mr W. Black cordially welcomed the visitors on arrival. The company numbered upwards of 270, and included a party from Kent, and others from Edinburgh, London, and the Isle of Wight. To many it was a real delight to greet once more the old familiar faces. Among the guests were Lieutenant-Colonel G. H. Loder, MC. of Handcross (Commanding the 1st Battalion Scots Guards). Mr W. E. Tower, Miss Tower, Mr and Mrs A. R. McNaught and Miss McNaught and Captain and Mrs F. G. Hay (Lindfield), Mrs Pratt and Miss Scroggie (Warninglid), Mr and Mrs E. S. Clarke (Bolney), Mr and Mrs C. Hugh Chalmers (Horsted Keynes), Captain and Mrs H. S. D. Went, Mr A. Topping (Haywards Heath) and Dr and Mrs Todd (Cuckfield). We hear a thousand tickets could easily have been sold.

The proceedings opened at half-past seven with a short series of Scotch and English dances, the music for the former being provided by Pipe-Major MacDonald and Piper McBean of the 1st Battalion Scots Guards by kind permission of Lieutenant-Colonel Loder. The Golden Star Orchestra played for the English Dances. The M.C.s were Messers W. Black, A Ferguson, W. E. Mitchell Jun., T. Leggatt, J. G. Richardson and A. Wilson. We can pay them no higher compliment than this: they did their duty as Nelson would have had them do it!:

The Company afterwards settled down to listen to an entertainment consisting chiefly of Scottish songs and dances. Of the vocalists, none gave more pleasure than Mr Anderson Nicol the celebrated Scottish Tenor. He was in magnificent form, and his songs were admirably chosen. Another favourite artiste was Master G. L. Taylor, of London. He gave a sword dance and the Highland Fling, receiving rapturous applause. Popular Mr Crosley, of Lindfield, also won hearty appreciation for a sword dance. Duets were very effectively rendered by the Misses Diplock and Hobbs of Horsted Keynes, while quartettes were sung by the Misses Mitchell and Marion Plummer and Messers Horace Hilton and F. T. Gibbs. The last-named and Miss Phyllis Hay and Rev G. Thaxted Cripps gave solo items. Mr G. T. Francis, FRCO., was the pianoforte accompanist.

At the conclusion of the entertainment, the Rev A.H.Boyd extended a worm welcome to the visitors. At the outset he said he was sure they would all agree that a large measure of the success of the dance was due to the fact that they had with them the Pipes from the 1st Battalion Scots Guards. (Applause). For that pleasure the Committee had to thank Lieutenant-Colonel Loder, who had also honoured them with his presence there that evening. (Renewed applause). The Speaker then thanked Mr Francis for training the quartet, and passed on to say that the Committee owed a deep debt of gratitude to Mr W. E. Mitchell, Jun. and considered themselves extremely fortunate in having such an able man as he was as Secretary. (Loud applause). Further, he must not forget the Committee, who had worked so happily together for the success of the function. As most of them were aware, it was hoped to re-establish the Caledonian Society in that part of Sussex, and members of the Committee were prepared to enrol members. The area of the Society would be that defined as the East Grinstead Parliamentary Division, and this would be sub-divided, with members of the Committee in each division to enrol members. The Subscription would be the small sum of one shilling per year. The area was so scattered that it would be realised that they could not meet together often, but an effort would be made to arrange a social evening annually. (Applause). Mr Boyd asked all who were connected with Scotland by birth, descent, marriage or residence to become members of the Society.

Someone asked him if it were necessary to have such a Society, as the English and Scots were all one People? `Thank God we are, “added the speaker, but he thought it was of the utmost importance that they of the North should continue to remind themselves of their history. God forbid that they should forget their ancestors` noble struggle for liberty. Their constant anxiety and almost daily warfare had produced a great race, brave, independent, and determined to be free. (Applause). If these characteristics were preserved, they could all do their best as one united people to preserve the safety, liberty and prosperity, not only of their country and the United Kingdom, but to the Empire. (Applause).

The remainder of the evening was spent in dancing.

As breaking-up time drew near, Mr J. Denman J.P. (Chairman of the Cuckfield Urban Council), amid enthusiastic applause, expressed the heartfelt thanks of the English Visitors to their Scotch friends for the very pleasant entertainment they had given them.

The Party broke up at two o'clock on Saturday morning with "Auld Lang Syne" and the National Anthem.

Refreshments were served in the Council Chamber by that popular caterer Mr C. P. Holloway, of Burgess Hill.

 

 

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