Speakers' Organiser Margaret Bowman

Venue:   Ayr Town Hall (unless otherwise stated)

Tuesday 1.30 pm - fortnightly

Meetings are normally held in the Main Hall at Ayr Town Hall, but may occasionally be held in Newton Wallacetown Church if the Town Hall is not available to us.


OIR Ayr – Town HallSpeakers’ Programme, August to December 2018

Welcome back to OiR Ayr’s Town Hall Fortnightly Meetings, to which all members are invited.
Newcomers are welcome to join us and try us out. Although there is no entry charge, we hold a fund-raising raffle under Mary Kane’s kind auspices. OiR’s monthly 200 Club Draw takes place at a Town Hall meeting and the result is shared with those attending. If any of the winners are present they receive their cheques at the meeting, with the remaining winners receiving their cheque by post from the OiR Office.

Meetings start at 1.30pm with a short introduction, and an opportunity for Group Leaders to share information on group activities. Anne and Andrew Monaghan attend when they have information on day trips and holidays at home and abroad to share with the members –this is a well-established contact point for those participating in those much anticipated events. Members of the Tuesday Walking Group Committee are also available with slips advising on future walks, trips and holidays. I am grateful to Jim Irving who continues to assist me in seeking out a member to give a vote of thanks to our guest speaker – a task he carries out in his own persuasive way, so members be aware of Jim approaching you.

I hope that you will enjoy listening to our invited speakers – we seem to have an underlying Scottish theme. This programme finishes on 4th December, with our annual Christmas Party for those who attend our meetings. The event seems very early, and I hope that it will not clash with other festive season outings, but give everyone who would like to attend the opportunity of doing so.

Meetings are normally held in the Main Hall at Ayr Town Hall at 1.30pm on the dates listed, but may occasionally be held in Newton Wallacetown Church if the Town Hall is not available to us.

I hope to see you soon, hopefully at our first meeting on Tuesday 14th August, and that you will enjoy the chance to meet up with friends – both old and new.

14th August
Denis Rattenbury – Our season is off to a wonderful start with Denis returning to talk to us. Denis has gained a reputation for his excellent inputs, on a wide variety of topics, on many previous occasions. Today his talk is entitled “Enlightenment Edinburgh” – a walk through the 18th century city, calling in on the kind of taverns frequented by the likes of David Hume and Robert Burns. His talk will be in the form of a PowerPoint Presentation, no doubt delivered with his usual sense of humour. Let us welcome his return. 

28th August
Jess Smith – Those of you who attend regularly will remember Jess, who shared with us, her own life as a travelling tinker, and some of her father’s wonderful reminiscences. She joins us again, to continue the story of Scottish Travellers through good and bad times.(Scottish Travellers are not to be confused with the Irish and English Travellers, and their lavish spending habits, depicted in recently broadcast T.V. programmes.)

Jess has published several books, many of which some of you will have enjoyed. She continues to work with the Scottish Government on the history of her own people and in this connection has visited Canada and the USA, where many years ago, Traveller children were sent, having been taken from women widowed by the war. We hope that, as she has promised, she will sing some more songs for us – her singing on her previous visit remains a lasting memory for many. Jess is an amazing woman with much presence and a tremendous knowledge of her background. She travels from near Crieff to join us.

11th September
Rab Wilson – “The Scots Language through poems and the spoken word”. Rab is a Scottish poet who writes predominantly in the Scots Language. He has had several of his works published and has gained prizes for his contribution to publicising the Scots language. Born in New Cumnock in 1960, he served an engineering apprenticeship with the National Coal Board. Following the Miners’ Strike of 1984/85, and its aftermath, he retrained as a Psychiatric Nurse. He is currently a member of the National Committee for the Scots Language Resource Centre and regularly attends the Parliamentary Cross Party Group for the Scots Language, at Holyrood. He is a ‘weel kent’ advocate for Scots writing. Today we have an opportunity to hear of current developments regarding the future of the Scots language. Much publicity surrounds the promotion of Gaelic, but there is little surrounding the language of the Lowlands.

25th September
Alex McDonald – “Ongoing Developments and the Future of Dumfries House”. Most of us know of the amazing job that was done in saving Dumfries House and its contents for the future. The wonders of the Chippendale Furniture and the amazing interiors are now able to be viewed by the public. Prince Charles has, through his considerable efforts, gained a great deal of financial support, which has provided the funding for many of the developments which have already taken place and are planned for the future. The gardens and the estate now provide opportunities for excellent walks and interesting opportunities both to the local public, and to visitors from elsewhere in Britain and overseas. Local people, including our own Amy Kinnaird, offer their time as volunteers to show people over the House. Alex McDonald has agreed to update us on the many exciting projects and opportunities for the local young people to gain employment. The work being done in the background is outstanding and today’s talk will give us an excellent opportunity of gaining some knowledge of this.

9th October
Maxine Allan – Whiteleys Project. Many of our members will be aware of the closure of the Malcolm Sargent Home on Prestwick sea front. The enforced closure of this well used facility caused much concern locally, and after a hard fought struggle the young users of the facility, and their families, became the losers. However, a very hard working group of volunteers, raising awareness and raising funds, struggled on, and as a result, have gained a wonderful resource – “Whiteleys Retreat”. This facility is being developed for the needs of children, young people and their parents, to have the opportunity of enjoying an amazing space for respite care.

Maxine will share with us, its beginning and development, thanks to many local volunteers, and financial support locally and from further afield. It continues to strive towards is ultimate aim of providing much needed respite care, where deserving families can enjoy a break surrounded by love and support. I was foolish enough, on hearing the name, to think that it was a spa, but I’m delighted to say that my initial thought was so wrong, and that Whiteleys Retreat is well on its way to becoming a much needed resource for young Britons.

23rd October
Louise Bustard – Louise, who is based at Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens has yet to provide the title of her talk. She has, over the years, spoken to our meetings on a variety of gardens, both locally and further afield. A very well qualified botanist, her manner of delivery, and her humour, quickly have us absorbed as she passes on her information. On her last visit, she paid tribute to Sam McNair, a much respected OiR member, whom she had grown to know through their shared interest in cacti. Sam’s personal collection of these plants was bequeathed to Glasgow Botanic Gardens. Louise always provides us with some wonderful illustrations – just the thing to brighten up an October afternoon.

6th November
Catherine Mills – The story of Vincent van Gogh. Over a period of several years Catherine has shared with us the history behind our favourite Nursery Rhymes, often surprising us with the reality of the words that trip off our tongues. This time she is leaving her Nursery Rhymes behind to talk on the artist Vincent van Gogh. Her talk will deal with the artist, whom she describes as a fascinating character. When I stopped to think, I know a few facts about him including painting sunflowers and cutting off his ear (I think he did). He failed, in his lifetime, to gain full recognition for his wonderful paintings. Just who was he really, and what was his contribution to the world of art? Our well informed and humorous speaker will fill in some of the gaps in our knowledge.

20th November
Mary Hogg – From Finart Bay to Ayr. Mary braved last winter’s snow, coming by bus rather than by car from Crosshill, to fascinate us with her beautifully illustrated talk on the River Girvan from source to mouth, and encourage walkers to get out and explore the countryside – we so often give scant recognition to – right on our own doorstep. On this visit, Mary will follow the coastal path, which many of us know in part, but rarely connect up the whole route. The photography shared with us on her last visit was excellent, and I am certain that on this visit we will enjoy further beautiful views captured by her camera. As a speaker who is much in demand, I am glad that Mary has been able to find time in her busy schedule to pay us a return visit – hopefully this time without snow on the ground to make her journey to Ayr a worry.

4th December
Christmas Party – This event is for members who attend regularly and support our meetings. In previous years I have been grateful to Veronica and her team of helpers who handle the catering, to the gentlemen who pour and serve the refreshments, and to all those who help in any way to make the party a success. I have also been grateful to the OiR Folk Group for providing the entertainment. With such a successful formula, I hope we can repeat the success this year again. 

It seems rather early to be holding a Christmas Party, but hopefully that very fact allows those of you who join in other group’s Christmas celebrations will be able to join in these as well.

Last year, I was very grateful that, when table set up arrangements had not been actioned by the time we arrived at the hall, Nicole got immediate help from some of her admin. staff to quickly rectify the situation. We are exceedingly grateful to all Town hall staff who assist us throughout the year.

We also hope, that as has become the custom, Santa will fit us in to his busy schedule.

Margaret Bowman, Speakers’ Organiser
July 2018

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