Irvine Folk Club has received a £9,600 50th birthday present from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

And they will use the grant to put together an exciting nine month project to celebrate 50 years of folk music in the town.

Folk festival chair Anne Clarke told the Times: “The considerable achievement of 50 years of annual Marymass Folk Festivals plus the simultaneous all-year-round Irvine Folk Club was always going to be marked and celebrated.

“The award of the £9,600 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund meant that what was being planned could be enhanced, a range of new events could be added and the treasurer Joyce Hodge could have a few less sleepless nights.

“We were all absolutely delighted to hear that the Grant Application had been successful.”

She added: “Whilst some might be a bit quizzical about folk music and its place in the heritage of an area, the evident pride in the collective ‘breasties’ of those who attended the launch of the 50 years exhibition at the beginning of August would have dispelled any such doubt.

“We all enjoy reading and hearing about people, places and events that we know about and take a certain pride that our history and experience are being acknowledged and recorded for future generations.

“And that’s why the final piece of the nine month project will be the production of a book which will chart the 50 years plus the anniversary celebrations, which of course will add another set of amazing memories.”

Lucy Casot, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for Scotland said, ‘Marymass Folk Festival is a fine example of HLF’s Sharing Heritage programme that, thanks to National Lottery players, makes it possible for local people to choose what is important to them, what they want to save, and how they want to spread the word throughout their community.’