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Chairman’s Report

The Royal Scots Club, Edinburgh

Chairman’s Report 2016

I have enjoyed a second very happy year as your Chairman. It has been a good Club year and we have maintained our membership of nearly 2,000 members. Currently we are engaged in a membership push and are always pleased that others wish to join us for all of the benefits that we offer.

Club Facilities
‘Old hands’ will know of our excellent facilities – to which we have recently added two new bedrooms, bringing us to a total of 27. There is a good take-up of rooms for overnight stays, with more than 85% occupancy during the year, and these and other commercial activities such as weddings and dinners help keep the Club going. Members have the considerable benefit of always being able to avail themselves of a 20% discount from the daily rack rate and a number of rooms are kept back for booking by members up to 10 days before their use. A regular programme of refurbishment keeps us all in very good shape. Our dining facilities continue to be much enjoyed by many and we can thank chef Bremner MacDonald and his team for many excellent and tasty Club lunches and dinners (I can also recommend the high teas and breakfasts; you don’t have to stay the night to enjoy these!). Our Club members’ room and library – with fresh coffee on tap – are loved and used by many. During the year we have ordered some different weekly and monthly magazines along with the usual selection of daily newspapers and these new choices seem to be popular.

The Club Committee
Your committee has been hard working during the year and we should be, indeed are, very grateful to all of them for their service. They have been involved in a major audit and listing of the Club’s silver collection, a sort-out of the library, some new merchandise, a wonderful new members’ benefit discount scheme and a scheme to encourage young musicians and provide entertainment for members. All of these activities are on-going and will continue to add to and improve the pleasure and usefulness of Club membership. Thanks to them all. Anna Fluegge is resigning from the members’ committee, due to work commitments and her place will be taken by Colonel Clinton Hicks (who, provided there are no objections, will be newly voted onto the committee for the coming three years). Constitutionally a third of the members’ committee should turn over each year and consequently Squadron Leader Graeme Lyall and Mrs Anne Ewing are standing down after just two years of service. As there are no more nominations for the committee I propose that they be co-opted for the coming year to enable them to each complete their three years of planned service and to continue the jobs that they have taken on your behalf. Next year we will be looking for a number of replacement members of the committee, so please consider whether you might like to take on this task on behalf of your fellow members. I offer here my special thanks for all of the hard work that members of this members’ committee have put in over the year. I would also like to thank the two other chairmen and their committees; Shields Henderson and the Royal Scots Club Management Ltd Board and Mark Strudwick and the Trustees. They, along with the men and women who also give of their time and talents, deserve our undying gratitude for all that they do to keep our particular show on the road. Thank you all!

Young Musicians Scheme
Perhaps I should say a little more about the scheme to encourage young musicians that we have introduced this year. Paid for by generous sponsorship from a small group of members, this allows us to support and benefit from the talents of four teenagers playing four Scottish traditional instruments; the bagpipes, the fiddle, the clarsach and the accordion. Each one is being mentored by composers and recording artists of great note, so look out for the public master classes that they are offering later in the year. We are truly grateful to this brilliant team who are giving freely of their time and talents; Senior Pipe Major of the British Army Martin Macdonald is helping our 13 years old piper, Angus McGregor; Paul Anderson is encouraging 12 years old Lucy Ruuskanen with her fiddle playing; Alison Kinnaird is working with 15 years old Ciorstaidh Chaimbeul on the clarsach– the small harp; and Sandy Brechin is mentoring 16 years old Ryan Corbett on the accordion. Robin Morton, an important former member of the folk group Boys Of The Lough and founder of Temple Records will be giving a master class on presentation and performance skills. Scotland’s best known composer and conductor Sir James MacMillan and his wife, Lynne, who is chair of the Cumnock Tryst annual music festival, have agreed to become Principal Mentors and are backing the scheme thanks to their particular interest in encouraging young musicians. You will have the opportunity to hear the youngsters play at various receptions, lunches and dinners throughout the year and in an annual concert, as well as the master classes.

Club Staff
Our excellent staff continue to be led and managed by Adrian Hayes. Our so-efficient Club membership secretary Janet Grant has been joined by an assistant Laura Campbell, and Ayesha Nickson also works tirelessly on events. We must be especially grateful to them and all of the staff for the hard work – often going well beyond the call of duty – that they put in to make our Club life a full and happy one. Thank you to them! The staff team are always on hand to ensure that our very full programme of events can be enjoyed by all members and their guests. The committee has continued to support and develop this programme and we are offering varied and interesting things – often involving eating together – for you all to enjoy throughout the year. Our quarterly newsletter, regular emails – make sure that we have your electronic address! – and the newly revamped website tell of the wonders of things past and the delights on offer in the future. Thank you for your support and please continue to enjoy those happenings that appeal to you…

I continue to enjoy the immense privilege of chairmanship of The Royal Scots Club. Let’s all go ever onwards and upwards as members of our excellent and celebrated ‘home from home’!

John Lloyd
April 2016