Federation presidency for Burns enthusiast Bob

Cupar Burns Club president Bob Stewart.
Cupar Burns Club president Bob Stewart.

Cupar Burns Club’s president Bob Stewart has been installed to one of the top positions in the Burns world.

Bob, who has been heavily involved with the Cupar club since 1975, has taken over the presidency of the Robert Burns World Federation.

The retired former head of engineering at Elmwood College, Cupar, was handed the chain of office at the annual meeting of the federation in Harrogate, having previously held the offices of senior vice president and junior vice-president. More than 250 clubs are members of the federation.

He has also served on the federation’s memorial and schools committees and helped to organise competitions and festivals for primary and secondary pupils throughout Scotland.

During his year as president, Bob will attend many events at home and abroad, including Canada, where he will be the guest of the Robert Burns Association of North America.

President of the Cupar club for three years and secretary for 16 years, Bob has also done much work locally in promoting Burns through schools’ competitions.

His own interest in the bard was kindled as a youngster when one of his pals played some of Burns’ work on the piano.

He recalled: “When I was at school there wasn’t much emphasis on Burns, with teachers focusing on English poets such as Wordsworth.

“As youngsters we would use a Burns song book and I would just sing along - although I was no singer!”

He began to appreciate Burns’ poetry when he was serving in the Army in the Middle East.

When he moved from his native Forfar to Dumfries, he joined the Burns Club in the Borders town and then Cupar Burns Club.

Bob, who now lives in Kirriemuir, said it was a “great honour” to take over as president of the World Federation.

He added: “I will do my best to ensure that the name of the federation is carried forward.”