THE SCOTTISH SPECTACULAR
The Society celebrated the arrival of its 100th Anniversary with “The Scottish Spectacular” at Highcliffe Castle near Christchurch, Dorset on Wednesday 11 July 2007. Members Bernard and Gwen Palmer spearheaded the task of getting the original idea into reality.
The Hampshire Pipe Band provided a number of marching displays and children from Highclife St Marks and Moordown St Johns enjoyed dancing. A wonderful display was provided by the young dancers from the Linda Ridout School of Highland Dancing. Various indoor dioramas were made and exhibited by the school children.
The Society’s own Dance Team presented various dances and encouraged members of the audience to join in. The event was highly successful and enjoyed by all.
The following is an account of the day written by Joan Higgins, one of the Society’s Life Vice-Presidents:
“What an absolutely SPLENDID day the Spectacular turned out to be! The sun shone all day, in a four week period when it has been raining and grey every day. What amazing Luck! The crowds came along and everything went with a swing. Bernard and Gwen kept the programme rolling and Phil kept the music playing and there was so much to do and see of interest it was hard to fit it all in. [See some photos from the day here.]
My first impression of the day as I walked through the gates of the castle, was being met by a smiling Beryl Knight, selling programmes and looking delightfully Scottish in tartan and lace and velvet. A great start.
The Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Dorset, Sally Weld, from Lulworth Castle was one of our VIP guests and she enjoyed it all enormously and the Mayor of Christchurch, Cllr Josephyn Spencer and the Mayor of Bournemouth, Cllr Anne Filey came along to take part in the opening ceremony.
At 10am our President welcomed everyone to the Spectacular then the Scottish Saltire was raised over the castle and fluttered in the sunshine against a blue sky whilst the Hampshire Caledonian Pipe Band marched in playing some stirring tunes. A children’s choir from St Marks and St Johns Primary schools then sang some traditional Scottish songs in the entrance of the Castle led by John as musical director. It was lovely to hear their young voices singing the old Scottish airs in that beautiful setting.
Then came Linda Ridout’s Highland Dancers. They performed excellently and were certainly a highlight of the day. At one point Linda and her daughter were dancing together and their picture was captured in the Echo. The Echo incidentally gave us a great write up.
Some primary school children from Milldown Blandford and St Michael’s Westbourne performed some Scottish dances for us and we all enjoyed their version of the Train dance when they blew whistles when it was their turn to be the train. They seemed to enjoy it all and it is always lovely to see children joining in.
Our own dance team did four dances and then everyone was encouraged to get up and join in and children and old alike did so. Dancing for all went on all day between the solo items in the programme so that all could feel they had joined in and had fun in the sun! Of course there was so much else to see and hear in the various marquees and in the castle itself.
In the Caledonian tent Jan Campbell and Margaret Whyman did a great job in the heat selling programmes and lottery tickets along with Jean Logan, Pam Steed, Pat Tomison and Ron & Eileen Anderson Kilday and over the entire event wafted the voice of Charlie on the P.A. telling us what the next item was to be, who were performing and so on.
Whilst it was very warm in the tents and marquees it was quite cold in the VIP Gazebo and those of us sitting there were in a kind of wind tunnel. At one point the Gazebo was taken by a gust of wind and blown away!
Did you see the model of the Battle of Culloden inside the castle? I think the children who made the Culloden models of soldiers will be delighted to know that the Diorama has been taken to the new museum at Culloden in Scotland to be part of an exhibition there with our Society’s name as donor. They really were very well done by the children.
All the other exhibits in the castle and the marquees were fascinating and I hope you managed to see them. I thought it interesting that Graham McCarty had an exhibition of his own Scottish attire. Nothing but the best quality there. He certainly always looks the part.
So after a day of tartan, pipes and drums, singing and dancing in the sun, our Centenary Spectacular came to a close. Bernard & Gwen were presented with a silver Quaich from the Society to thank them for all their hard work. A Lone Piper, Jim Garrioch, played on top of the Castle as the Saltire was slowly taken down. Everyone then joined in the singing of ‘Auld Lang Syne.'”
For those interested, a video or DVD of the day is on sale from the Club. Please contact the Club directly for more details.