Irvine Burns Club’s award-winning Wellwood centre has been 'closed indefinitely' due to Coronovirus fears. 

The management team at Irvine's Wellwood Burns Centre and Museum have taken the unprecedented step of shutting up shop until 'normality is resumed'.

Bill Nolan, Irvine Burns Club’s Secretary, said: “This isn’t a panic measure and I want to make it clear that no currently suspected cases have any links with Wellwood but we have taken this decision in the general interests of Public Health.

"We recognised that we have a Duty of Care to our local community and to visitors attracted to our museum from other parts which means that Wellwood will remain closed until normality is resumed and restrictions lifted.

"This has not been an easy decision to take but, after consultation, we believe it to be the right one at a time of growing uncertainty and potential medical upheaval. We must be especially careful when lives could be at risk.”

A presentation dinner planned this Friday to recognise well-known Burnsian Sir Boyd Tunnock as Irvine Burns Club’s latest Honorary Member being postponed until further notice.

“Closed” signs will also be in place at Wellwood for the next two Saturdays and then indefinitely.

Among the cancelled events will be the closing concert in this year’s “Music @ Wellwood” Series due to be held on Wednesday 20th April 20 and featuring international artistes Aimée Taylor and Lucy Nolan.

Now regarded as being “very doubtful” is a mini-exhibition scheduled for early May featuring Irvine-born John Galt whose first novel - “The Ayrshire Legatees” - was published exactly 200 years ago.

Several planned visits by school and Burns Clubs from outwith the local area have been cancelled already though visits by clubs are being quickly re-arranged for the Autumn.

School visits often involve P7 children and, unfortunately, these youngsters are likely to have moved on to Secondary Schools before Wellwood Burns Centre hopefully re-opens at the end of June.

One local group who are regular users of Wellwood is Irvine Lasses Burns Club whose members are celebrating its 45th Anniversary, who will almost certainly feel the impact of the closure.

Rosemary Murdoch, their President, said: “Irvine Lasses Burns Club fully supports the decision that the Directors of The Irvine Burns Club have made, in closing Wellwood Burns Centre & Museum until such times as the current medical crisis has been resolved. Our Club and Committee recognise the importance of keeping our Members and Communities safe during the growing concern created by COVID -19 (Coronavirus).”

“We have also issued our members with contact details within our Committee, should they require assistance or support during this Public Health emergency.”

Last year, Wellwood Burns Centre & Museum was given Four-Star Recognition by VisitScotland and attracted in excess of 3,000 visitors in 2019.