IRVINE Burns Club have paid homage to a club stalwart who “touched so many lives”, following his passing.

John Inglis was born in New Cumnock in 1932, and that was where his eventful life began.

When he left school in 1950, he chose to work in the local bits, and in September of that year he as involved in rescuing 116 out of a total of 129 trapped miners over several days at what be came known as The Knockshinnoch Disaster.

As he moved on from there, John joined The Scots Guards as part of his National Service and, on being demobbed, later joined The Ayrshire Constabulary, which later became Strathclyde Police.

He completed 31 years of service while in the police force, rising to as high a rank as Detective Chief Inspector.

It was following his retirement from the police, that he began to develop his love for the works of Robert Burns.

Despite, by his own admission, being late in his involvement with the Irvine Burns Club, it was hardly unexpected when in 1977-78 he became president of the club.

As ever, John Inglis devoted his energies to promoting Burns and The Irvine Burns Club and he was heavily involved in bringing the Burns Federation Conference to Irvine in 1981.

Even bigger than this, John would become President of the Ayrshire Association in 1979-81, and of the World Burns Federation in 1984-85. He also acted for many years as unpaid Hon Secretary of The Burns Federation based at The Dick Institute in Kilmarnock.

A knowledgeable guide, John was happy to welcome many visitors to Wellwood Burns Centre and Museum from around the world.

That devotion to Wellwood was recognised in January 1997 when the then President Duncan Rennie made him an Honorary Member of The Irvine Burns Club.

In his acceptance letter, John Inglis wrote: “Notwithstanding, the prestige of these high offices, it is flattering to be identified and associated with the illustrious men and women of letters and eminence who, over the past one hundred and seventy years, have accepted this great honour.

“’My dearest meed, a friend’s esteem and praise’ and it is doubly flattering to one born and brought up in a miners’ row in New Cumnock and my early years spent working at the coal-face at the ill-fated Knockshinnoch Castle Colliery should be accorded this singular honour (from The Irvine Burns Club).”

Margaret Greenlees, the current President of the Irvine Burns Club said: “John Inglis was an inspirational devotee of Robert Burns and his works and he freely gave of his time and talents to introduce others to the Ayrshire poet.

“As a reader, he made the words and verses of Burns come alive and that was a great talent that he selflessly shared with so many in different parts of the world.

“Our thoughts today are with his wife, Margaret and his family Iain and Elaine, each of whom will have their own memories of this ‘social friendly honest man’ who touched so many lives along the way.”

John Inglis’ funeral will be at Holmsford Bridge Crematorium, Dreghorn on Monday July 25 at 3.30pm.