Irvine’s Burns club will be releasing a video this week to mark the Bard’s big day.

Irvine’s Wellwood Burns Centre would normally be buzzing this week, however both the school’s museum visits and the club’s annual celebrations in the Volunteer Rooms this Friday had to be called off due to the pandemic

But Burns Club President David Burns and the directors have shown their determination that Burns will be honoured by creating their own video featuring Burns’s “Address to a Haggis”.

The video runs for just over four minutes and features eight Burnsians, each reading a verse of the mock heroic poem that first saw the light of day in April 1797 in Burns’ Edinburgh Edition, an original copy of which book is held in Wellwood Burns Museum.

It starts with an introduction and opening verse by David Burns against a backdrop of the Low Green and the River Irvine, and moves to Derek Murdoch at the Burns Statue on Irvine Moor, before Margaret Cook, an Honorary Member, enthusiastically “stabs the haggis” against a backdrop of Harbourside where Burns met Irvine sailor, Captain Richard Brown, who encouraged him to have his poetry published.

Bill McGregor reads the fourth verse at the Kirkyard, before the camera crosses to the Glasgow Vennel to record Archie Chalmers outside the Lodging House where Burns lived locally. It wasn’t a long journey from there to The Heckling Shed, also in Glasgow Vennel, where he worked as a flax dresser and where Bill Cowan, the Club’s senior Director and a seasoned Burns reader of many years, came out of retirement to read the sixth verse. Local artist Jim Butler not only recorded the penultimate verse with great vigour within Eglinton Woods but also played a selection of Burns’ air on the pipes to provide a lively musical background to the video.

The final verse of “Address to the Haggis” will be delivered by Honorary Member and Provost Ian Clarkson in the magnificent setting of The Directors’ Room at Wellwood where, under the watchful eye of a Burns’ portrait, he was joined by President David Burns in Toasting the Haggis.

Honorary Secretary, Bill Nolan said: “We couldn’t let this difficult year pass without honouring Burns and his links with Irvine and what better way than to do so via a poem and a colourful ceremony that will be repeated around the world on thousands of Burns-related events.

Burns and his Address to the Haggis have transformed a plain culinary dish based on simple Scottish ingredients into something that is almost a theatrical production, loved and enjoyed globally and is right at the heart of Burns Suppers, Lunches, Dinners, and even Breakfasts at this time of the year. “It epitomises the fun that is central to Burns Suppers and which makes them unique social gatherings.”