Ninety years of tradition to be celebrated in St Andrews

Jessica Stevenson, Laurence Pemberton, Fernando Maluf and Austen Schurig display the bright shields that will be used in the Kate Kennedy 90th anniversary procession
Jessica Stevenson, Laurence Pemberton, Fernando Maluf and Austen Schurig display the bright shields that will be used in the Kate Kennedy 90th anniversary procession

A pageant which has swept curiously through the town annually will mark 90 years of historic tradition with the help of the community.

The Kate Kennedy Club Spring Procession – once outlawed by the University authorities for being too rowdy – was revived by Principal Sir James Colquhoun Irvine in 1926.

The annual procession will this year celebrate not only its namesake Katherine Kennedy and 140 characters of university history, but also the relations with the town’s community – one of the original aims of the Kate Kennedy Club.

The club, comprising of and run by students, will stage the 90th anniverary procession amidst a weekend of community and family orientated activities.

“We want to include as many people from St Andrews as possible,” said Adam Shaw, club president. “We are immensley proud of the club and have a huge amount of pride in going to the University of St Andrews and upholding the traditions of the Kate Kennedy Club.”

The Spring Procession on April 9 will be a large community celebration with a range of family-based activities taking place both around St Andrews and in the marquee being built especially for the anniversary weekend on Lower College Lawn.

Detailed descriptions of the effort, minute detail and endless research that goes into the historical accuracy of each costume, banner and poster is testament to the students dedication to the tradition.

“Each costume is hand stitched based on historical archives. Each coat of arms has been replicated and coloured by expert Mark Dennis, to that of the original,” enthused Adam.

Although much of the focus is on the parade, for the 2016 procession the students have arranged for pupils from St Leonards, Madras College and Canongate to colour in over 100 placards that will be strung around the quad.

Adam explained: “As well as being able to come down on the day and see their own work, this is also their local history and a way the schools can get involved in being a part of it.”

The cost of staging the special weekend is being met by sponsors led by St Andrews graduate Stuart Mitchell of S W Mitchell Capital.

He said: “As a former St Andrews student, I know how important the annual procession is in bringing town and gown together in celebrating Scotland’s history.

“I am very pleased therefore to be able to lead the charge in making the 90th anniversary weekend a very special event for the whole community.”

Chris Kunkler, Kate Kennedy Club president, said: “For nine decades the Kate Kennedy Procession has been a key feature in St Andrews

“I can think of no better to celebrate this than alongside members of the community of which we are all privileged to be a part.”

Diary of events:

April 7:

The drinks reception at Abbotsford Coach House is a chance to see first hand the two restored coaches used in the procession. Families welcome but please register attendance.

April 8:

Golf competition at Dukes is an opportunity to vye for the President’s Putter. Refreshments avaialble before 11.30am start with familes and partners welcome at the prize presentation at 3pm. £40 per player.

April 9:

Family day from 10.30am onwards where a festival atmosphere will be created in the marquee and families can view the Great Procession Tapestry, take part in the history trail, enjoy performances by A capella groups the Alleycats and The Other Guys, the Mermaids drama group, the Kate Kennedy music scolar and a piano recital from principal sponsor Stuart Mitchell. FAcepainting and stroytelling will also be available to keep children entertained. From 12.30 a brunch will be available for the local community in th marquee for £15 per person. The procession starts at 2pm from St Salvator’s Quadrangle.

April 10:

11am University Chapel Service in St Salvator’s Chapel and at 12pm there is a pier walk at East Sands.