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Burns Night proves a sell-out success

Toasting the haggis, left to right, chef Duncan Walkman, organiser Geoff Howitt, reader Douglas Hill and piper Tim Wilkinson

Toasting the haggis, left to right, chef Duncan Walkman, organiser Geoff Howitt, reader Douglas Hill and piper Tim Wilkinson

PEOPLE have been quick to praise the Shoreham Centre following its first Burns Night supper.

Fighting back after burglars stole £1,000 put aside for the event, organiser Geoff Howitt said Saturday’s event had been a sell-out success.

He admitted not everything had gone to plan, but he had said at the start it was a ‘voyage of discovery’ and afterwards added lessons had been learned for next year.

“The event went really well, there were many very happy people and we will undoubtedly do it again,” he added.

“We didn’t have enough time for the songs and poems we had prepared but we are already discussing improving that next year.

“Our chef Duncan Workman did a wonderful job. It was the first time he had ever cooked on this scale and many people went into the kitchen to congratulate him.”

Chris Howitt, Geoff’s wife, and their neighbours Carolyn Green and Judith Williams decorated the hall with ribbons and tartan, creating the perfect atmosphere for the ceilidh.

Mr Howitt said: “The dancing was great fun and accompanied by much laughter. Barry Ruffell’s band and caller Gill Emerson were a big hit and we have already booked them for next year.”

Mr Walkman had practised the menu and produced a delicious feast of haggis, neeps and tatties, along with Scottish fruit pudding, with the help of catering students.

Deputy centre manager Sara Collins said: “I was so impressed with the work of the students who worked in the kitchen and of Val Garland, one of the trustees, who worked all evening as a volunteer.”

Piper Tim Cousins said he had played at a number of events but the Shoreham one had been the most fun yet.

Douglas Hill read Robert Burns’ poem Address to a Haggis and performed the ceremonial haggis slicing with the dirk, following a procession around the room.

Libby Longhurst and Lorna Casey sang and Mr Howitt gave a fascinating talk about Burns, the national poet of Scotland, and his works.

Centre manager Dave Frost said “This extraordinary success shows that the Shoreham Centre has the dance floor, the car parking and the facilities for this kind of large scale event.”

 

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