The 225th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone of the present Annan Old Parish Church building, was celebrated with several events last year. The first event was a Coffee Morning and Table Top Sale on 29th March 2014 to raise funds for celebratory activities. Front page coverage by the Annandale Observer helped make this a very successful event and generous funds were raised to allow planning of further events for the Autumn. A couple of quiz sheets, Sunday School sponsored walk and a Coffee Morning later and we had raised in excess of our £1500 target and plans could become reality.
We have been very pleased to welcome back our former Ministers Rev Bill Ferguson, Rev Andrew Frater, Rev Duncan Macpherson and Rev Hugh Steele. Each visit has not only given the congregation a chance to think of what we gained from their years serving with us, but each Minister has also informed us of what they gained from the Parish of Annan Old. It really brings joy to our Church family to learn we have been so highly thought of throughout the years.
Each visit from our previous Ministers has been followed by a Soup and Something lunch in the Church Hall. Our Social Committee have produced excellent soup and sandwiches/ dessert. The fellowship during lunch has been amazing and enjoyed by everyone. It shows just how close we are as a Church family, with the friendly atmosphere welcoming to all. Many thanks to those who have worked so hard each weekend producing such a lovely lunch!
On Saturday, 4th October 2014, over 100 people joined together in celebration at the Solway Lodge Hotel, Gretna for an Anniversary Dinner. It truly was a night to remember. The joyous atmosphere, the lovely meal, a beautiful cake, the guest speakers…amazing! Mr Neil Wallace acted as Compere for the evening, providing many a laugh with his wit and fun personality. Guests included Rev Dr Frances Henderson (our current Interim Moderator) who led us into the evening by saying Grace, Rev C Bryan Haston with greetings from the Presbytery of Annandale and Eskdale, Rev John Pickles (St Andrew’s Church, Annan) with greetings from the Churches in Annan. We then welcomed with pleasure Mr George Heatley, son of Rev George Heatley – Minister of Annan Old 1950-1972. He spoke about his parents and his childhood at Annan Old Manse (even mentioning the fun he had playing in the neighbouring scrap yard from his home). Following Mr Heatley, Mr Wallace then welcomed his brother Lord Wallace of Tankerness. Known to the people of Annan as Jim, Lord Wallace grew up in Annan and attended Annan Old prior to leaving for University. He is often seen in the pews at Annan Old when visiting his parents and with delight we welcomed him as main Guest Speaker. Lord Wallace gave an excellent speech with detailed facts of the Church and it’s history alongside personal stories of his time at Annan Old as a youngster. He told us how the Church shaped his future and made him the person he is today. Our final speaker of the evening was Mrs Sheila Irving, daughter of Rev Neil McCaig – Minister of Annan Old 1909-1950. The lovely Mrs Irving spoke of her early years in the Manse and noted the changes which were made during her Father’s time serving Annan Old (these included building the Church Hall and installing electric lights). Mrs Irving then cut the Anniversary cake which had been beautifully crafted by Mrs Allison Jackson. Mr Neil Wallace then introduced. Mrs Esther Bicket, Session Clerk, who thanked all those who contributed in any way to making this such an enjoyable evening.
The Gardens Department for Dumfries and Galloway Council must also be mentioned. Earlier this year the front garden was altered, flower beds raised and Notice Board moved. A large 225 made from select flowers now takes position as centre piece of the Church garden. A large sign which reads Anniversary is set as back drop, drawing attention of townspeople and visitors to this special milestone. Many thanks to the Church neighbour who very kindly provided a photograph of this display taken from an upstairs window.
FRIENDSHIP CLUB 225 CELEBRATION LUNCH – 15th September, 2014
A good old fashioned afternoon tea (albeit served at lunchtime) with real china cups and saucers was served to over forty members and friends during the celebrations for 225 years of Annan Old.
Young Rosie Denner, who had choreographed her own dance stunned everyone with her fabulous dance routine. A little bit of country western mixed with highland was a treat for everyone.
Follow that!!! and follow that he did. 21 year old Evan Keir had the audience in the palm of his hand with his fantastic singing and playing his guitar. Scottish, Burns, Ballads and the rest.
Both Rosie and Evan were a credit to our younger generation who gave so freely and willingly of their time and talent.
The Friendship Club continues to thrive and enjoy the fortnightly gatherings where everyone is made really welcome.
More news (including songs of Praise by Singing Group ) will follow (also more photographs) but in the meantime here are a few photos showing artwork by the pupils of Newington Primary School which were displayed in the Church for our anniversary exhibition. Well done to all children and school staff – the pictures and poems are fantastic and we are delighted you produced such amazing artwork for our visitors to see. Many thanks.
An exhibition in the Church Hall on 11th October 2014 was enjoyed by all ages. Photographs and other memorabilia were on display spanning 225 years of Annan Old. A few “not quite old” photographs caught my eye when I noticed my youthful sister then realised I was actually the smaller girl beside her! I am told this photograph from 1988 shows an event where money was being raised for a Guild Project in Edinburgh – to help pay for the services to 2 people to give guidance and advice to drug addicts and prostitutes, by working alongside them, in an effort to help them overcome their additions. A sum in excess of £550 was raised – a lot of money in 1988!!
Arm of Susan Bicket’s Jumper, Susan Halliday, Laura Wortley, Kirsty Wortley, Mrs. Patterson, Shirley Waugh, Pat Jardine, Joyce Carlyle, Ellen Speirs, Jan Renwick, Betty McCreath, Lib Bell, Peggy Milligan, Margaret Freeman, Betty Metcalf, Senga Neilson.
Another photo of the ‘hostess’ line up so you can see Susan’s lovely jumper.
Susan Bicket and Susan Halliday get their instructions from Pat Jardine, with Kirsty and Jackie Wortley in the background.
“When you get these rolls buttered put them over there”, Peggy Milligan tells Esther Bicket – (Do you remember when the kitchen looked like this?)
This next photograph shows youngsters enjoying a Recreation Club party (again 1980’s):
Another Recreation Club party from around 1985 shows the children and helpers with a special Christmas visitor:
If you can spot yourself please let the web team know. Some faces we recognise include Laura Wortley, Alison Neilson, Douglas Neilson, Sandra Flett, Sarah Fuller, Ann Fuller, Pamela Thompson, Neil Thompson, Susan Stevens, Alison Kirk, Andrew Robson, Andrew Robertson, Brendan Foley. Adults: John Love, Senga Neilson, Jackie Wortley, Georgina Robertson, Lynda Smith.