Algarve society celebrates all that is Scottish

Established around 15 years ago, the Algarve Saint Andrew’s society is looking to boost its membership and raise awareness of its activities among the community, including its upcoming St. Andrew’s Ball.

Doug McAdam, who became the society’s chieftain earlier this year, told The Portugal News: “As chieftain, my main aim is to increase awareness and membership of our society, which currently stands at 34 members.”

Anyone wishing to join the society is welcome, although most members are either Scottish or have lived in Scotland, there are also English and Dutch members, among others.

“We welcome anyone who has an interest in Scotland or Scottish activities, but our society also hosts general social events such as wine tasting and ten pin bowling.”

The main aim of a Saint Andrew’s society is to celebrate Scottish traditions wherever there is a community of Scottish people around the world.

“During my career with the British diplomatic service, I joined Scottish societies such as Saint Andrew’s and the Caledonian Society around the world.”

He added: “In the Nigerian city of Lagos, for example, there is a very well established Caledonian Society, of which I was once deputy chieftain. Our events there were very popular and we even had a professional bagpiper flown from Scotland to play for us. ”

This month, the Algarve-based society will be hosting its annual Saint Andrew’s Ball at Le Meridien Hotel, Penina, near Portimão on 27 November.

St. Andrew’s Day celebrates the patron Saint of Scotland, traditionally held on 30 November as Scotland’s national day. Believed to be the brother of St. Peter, Saint Andrew became the patron Saint of Scotland around the middle of the tenth century. Several legends state that his remains were brought under supernatural guidance from Constantinople to where the town of Saint Andrew’s now stands, after he was crucified on a diagonal cross, which is represented by the Saltire or St Andrew’s cross,on the Scottish flag.

The festivities will include a champagne reception, followed by a buffet, with entertainment from Scottish piper Malcolm MacGillivray and music by Scottish dance band The Sounds of Islay.

“We are fortunate in having the Sounds of Islay band flying in to entertain us once again, and our superb Algarve-based piper Malcolm will also be playing for us. It promises to be a super evening and an excellent opportunity to air the glad rags and dig out the dancing shoes,” said Doug McAdam.

As well as the Saint Andrew’s Ball, the society also hosts a traditional Burn’s Night each January at the Ponte Romana restaurant in Silves.

Burn’s Night celebrates the life and poetry of Scotland’s most renowned poet, Robert Burns. A dinner is traditionally held on the poet’s birthday, 25 January, which includes a number of traditions such as the ‘address to a haggis’, several toasts and speeches as well as the reading of works by Robert Burns.

“For this event, we import the haggis and the ‘neeps’ to ensure that we host a traditional Burn’s night supper,” said Mr McAdam.

Each year, the Algarve Saint Andrew’s Society also makes a donation to a local charity. In previous years, the Alvor-based children’s home Lar Bom Samaritano has been the benefactor, however this year’s will be decided at the annual general meeting (AGM) in early 2011.

For more information about joining the society or the Saint Andrew’s Ball, which will take place from 7:00pm on 27 November, please telephone Kathy Prentice on 916 635 246. Tickets cost €38.50 for non-members and €36 for members. Further details of the Burn’s night supper will be released closer to the time.

If you are new to Scottish country dancing or would like to brush up on your steps, please contact Mardie Cunningham at Classes are held on Monday evenings from 7:30pm until 9:30pm at the International School in Porches.


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