WILLIAM WALLACE DAY 2011

Despite weather reports to the contrary the sun came out for the duration of our Wallace Day Commemoration this year, someone up there definitely likes us!! Once again there was a healthy crowd ready to march from Johnstone Town Centre to the Wallace Monument in Elderslie. Young and old alike joined forces to remember Wallace as we marched behind the awesome Tulliallan Pipe Band!! Nothing quite stirs the blood like marching behind the pipes and drums on a beautiful August day!!

Special thanks to the Police Officers who joined our march and organised the route in a friendly and efficient manner, thanks guys!

Once we got to the monument, which was decked out superbly by the way, thanks Archie!!

The assembled crowd gathered to hear our speakers for the day. Our Master of Ceremonies was Society Convenor Duncan Fenton who introduced us to, Singer and all round good guy, Ted Christopher, Society Historian William Ballantyne and author Sarah Crome.

First things first though, the wreath laying which this year was performed by a lovely Dublin lass, Anne Gladwell, and a thoroughly professional job she did too, well done Anne and thank you!! We also had English lass Marian Connelly lay a wreath, something she does every year which goes to show the effect Wallace has on people from all nations, not just Scotland!!

First up was Ted who in all the times I've heard him speak always delivers, he has a knack of being able to say exactly what we'd all like to say but can't find the words, thanks Ted!! Next up we had William Ballantyne who let's just say, likes a good blether!! William decided to take us on a wonderful journey through Scotland's history pausing momentarily to let us know exactly how he felt about King Eddie, stirring stuff indeed!! We managed to drag William away from the microphone while we still had some daylight left!! Only kidding William, great speech which was loved by the assembled crowd.

With daylight beginning to fade it fell to author Sarah Crome to wrap up the proceedings with a heartfelt speech on Wallace, she also read us an excerpt from Konstantina Ritsou's new book, "The Boy and the Well of Memory", the story of Andrew de Moray, Konstantina it sounds like you've done a great job!!

Duncan said a final few words and left everyone to chat and hug and spend some quality time for catching up in some fine drinking establishments in Elderslie before our evening event in the Village Hall which this year for the first time featured not one, not two but three of Scotland's finest musical acts!! Ted Christopher, Albannach and Scocha, those who were there will never forget it, for those of you who weren't, there's always next year as we'll be trying to get all three back for sure!!

Special mention for Andy Middleton who was presented with this years David R Ross Memorial Quaich from Kim Ross, Andy was the recipient due to all his tireless work and effort at the Robroyston Monument, if you haven't been up lately please go and see what we mean, it looks fantastic!! Well done Andy and thanks from all the Society for your efforts!!

Also it was great to see Jamesie of Albannach back in fine form with the band after recent events, it did our hearts good to see him back in his proper place bouncing around the place with a huge smile on his face, we love Jamesie!!

To the boys on the door and our dedicated bar staff, a huge big thank you, you know we couldn't do it without you!!

To Lily and her helpers for running the tea room for us in the afternoon, guys it's so appreciated you'll never know just how much!!

The Society would also like to thank everyone who came along for making it one of the most memorable and enjoyable Wallace Day for years.

To everyone who marched, donated, spoke, sang, danced or bought a t-shirt we thank you and hope to see you all again next year.

The Fantastic Tulliallan Pipes & Drums!!
Always a thrill to march for Wallace & Scotland!!
The Society Banner
Duncan Fenton welcomes the crowd!!
Anne lays the Society Wreath
Never far from our thoughts on days like this one!!
Marian Connelly lays her wreath, something she's been doing for years, thank you Marian!!
Three of the finest lassies you'll ever meet!!
Ted in one of my favourite photos of the day!!
William Ballantyne tells it like it is!!
Faither & Irene share a laugh with William!!
Duncan wonders if we're running out of daylight!!
Author Sarah Crome
Ted sings Scots Wha Hae!!
Jane & Thomas
To Wallace and absent friends!!
Ted kicks off the evening event!!
Kim with Andy and Gary, Andy won this years Society award!!
Great to see Albannach again, especially Jamesie, welcome back pal!!
The fantastic Scocha!!
Scocha with an adoring young fan!!
The Society Wreath!!
 

For higher resolution copies and lot's more of these photo's CLICK HERE

WILLIAM BALLANTYNE'S SPEECH

My fellow members of the Society of William Wallace, Patriots of Scotland, my family, friends and invited guests, may I personally wish you all a warm and sincere welcome to Elderslie, and despite what our Ayrshire neighbours and friends may claim, the rightful and true birthplace of Sir William Wallace.

Once again, I am indebted to our tireless and dedicated convenor,  Mr. Duncan Fenton, for kindly asking me to say (ahem) a few words on William Wallace on behalf of the Society.

Having been born and raised in Elderslie, standing here before my fellow patriots and praising Elderslie’s greatest son is a fantastic honour and the greatest privilege.  This memory will stay with me forever, thank you again Duncan.

I promise I will try, to keep this speech short and finish before darkness falls. As always, I humbly dedicate my words and thoughts to the immortal memory of Scotland’s other greatest son, the late David R Ross. The Big Warmer, who continues to inspire and feed my insatiable hunger for Scottish history through his books and the recollection of my personal memories of a sadly missed and lamented friend.

In what already, has been a truly memorable and momentous year for Scotland, the name of William Wallace and the beliefs for which he fought, strived and dedicated his life, eventually to pay the ultimate price at the hands of a tyrannical madman, has never been more poignant or held the more significant than now.

The ultimate goal that William Wallace, Andrew de Moray, Robert Bruce,James Douglas and the countless, unknown, ordinary men and women of Scotland, who cared deeply enough, to risk and dedicate their whole lives to achieve by the sweeping arc of the broadsword and claymore, can be ours. That simple status, deserving of any nation and which is a God–given right, is there to grasp, not with the thrust and cut of the battle swords of old, but with two crossing strokes of the pen.

This goal I’m referring to, can be summed up in one word and it is a simple but very powerful word. It is the most powerful word in any language and this word is synonymous with Wallace and Scotland.

The word is FREEDOM.

On a beautiful sunny afternoon, on the 23rd August 2005 at Smithfield in London, at the plaque on the wall of St. Bartholomew’s hospital, marking the spot where Wallace was murdered, I and some of you here today, along with Davie Ross and hundreds of Patriots of Scotland, who had come to honour Wallace, raised our heads towards the heavens and we let Wallace know he would never be forgotten and that we were there for him that day by shouting into the clear blue skies of London, this one word. 

Please, raise your heads to the sky and punch the air as you shout it out with me now – together – as a Nation and People united in one voice and let William Wallace and Davie Ross know that we are here for them today and they will never be forgotten.

"FREEDOM"

How sweet and satisfying does that sound, hanging in the still air? Is there any one here who disnae have a lump in their throat as  we stand in the shadow of this monument that marks the birthplace and deeds of our greatest hero, our greatest patriot, our greatest freedom fighter ever?

The greatest Scot who ever lived.

This very place,  where the fires of  freedom sparked into life,  when the second son of a Stewart vassal opened his eyes and took his first breath of pure Scottish air  and was henceforth, destined to lead his beloved Scotland to victory against the English armies of  Edward I, at Stirling Bridge.

Throughout Scotland’s often violent, bloody and colourful history, envious, greedy, vicious warring nations and empires have thrust their unwanted attentions and ideals upon us.

Inevitably, these factions have been led by a collection of self-centred, vindictive, paranoid, nasty, egotistical, evil maniacs, hell-bent on bringing our proud and ancient nation onto her knees by brute force and cruelty.

In a strange, bizarre way, I can almost appreciate and understand why these monsters would want our Scotland and our people for their own, to rule and command. She is, after all, the finest jewel in any crown. She is, without doubt, the greatest prize in all of Christendom.

Had I, by the grace of God, not been fortunate enough to be Scots-born? Had I been born a devious, greedy foreign ruler?  If I had seen, through malevolent eyes filled with malice and envy, this beautifully magnificent land and all she possessed and had to offer, I know I would want to rule her as part of my kingdom as well!

But such is the strength and fortitude of this ancient land that we all call home, on every occasion when we have been under threat from  armies of tyranny and occupation, Scotland has seen fit to grace us with heroes and champions, leaders and warriors more than capable of repelling any invading forces back over the border or to drive them back into the seas from whence they came.

Many have tried and many have failed to conquer Scotland and the Scots.

In the year fifty-five BC, the mighty Roman armies of the Emperor Julius Caesar quickly overpowered and subjugated Southern Britain to Roman rule.

Total conquest of what we now know as England was achieved by Rome under the Emperor Claudius in forty – three AD but they could never quite extend the empire to include Caledonia.

It would eventually dawn on the emperors and military generals of Ancient Rome, that the tribes of this cold and foreboding land were the stuff of nightmares and when the crack ninth legion of six thousand highly battle- trained Roman soldiers, simply disappeared in the glens of Scotland in the year one hundred and seventeen AD with no trace ever found of any corpses or weapons, despite searching high and low, it only confirmed what every Roman foot soldier already feared, we really did invent fighting!

The Emperor Hadrian thought to solve the problem by ordering the construction  o’ a big wa’ in one hundred and twenty-eight AD  and when that didnae work,  fourteen years later, in one hundred and forty-two AD, the Emperor Antoninus had the Antonine wa’ built.

That didnae work either. Eventually the Romans realised that they could never defeat us and buggered off back to Rome in the year four hundred and ten AD.

On October 2nd, 1263, Viking forces led by King Hakon Hakonsson of Norway battled through violent stormy seas in their dreaded longships towards the West coast. Eight hundred Viking warriors, including King Hakon himself were swept inshore by the storm and thanks only to Norse seamanship skills, successfully landed at Largs intact, where they were promptly dealt with by King Alexander III, leading his army of eight thousand fighting- mad Scots.

One of the few times in history, thanks to the Scottish weather, that the odds were in our favour.  This battle effectively ended any Viking domination of Scotland and her islands and when King Hakon died in Orkney later that same year, only Orkney and Shetland remained in Norwegian hands after the Treaty of Perth in 1266.

Tragically for Scotland, twenty years later on 19th March 1286, King Alexander, desperate to return into the arms of his newlywed, young French Queen because it was her birthday the next day, ignored warnings and rode at pace from Edinburgh Castle. He became separated in the dark, rain-lashed, wind-swept night from his guides and was to fall from his horse and to his death over cliffs at Kinghorn in Fife. And so, the darkest period in Scotland’s history was set in motion.

This conveniently brings my short travels through our bloodied past  to the most detested, hated, quintessentially, English monarch to ever set foot on Scottish soil.

Nae speech o’ mine would be complete without my usual character assassination and personal opinions on the mindset of this odious creature.

Patriots of Scotland, Lads and Lassies, I give you, your auld pal and mine – 
                                  
EDDIE!
Edward the First – King of England - The Plantagenet.
The First Knight of Christendom.
The “HAMMER OF THE SCOTS”.
Or to give him his proper Scottish title and my personal favourite–
That skinny, lanky, peelly-wally, streak o’ pish
Longshanks.


The one man, responsible for centuries of bad blood and ill feeling between Scotland and our nearest neighbours. Feelings that still run high over seven hundred and fifteen years later.

Make no mistake, my friends, this immoral, greedy, over-ambitious, power-mad cesspit of an individual is solely to blame for the wars of independence that existed between Scotland and England and caused the deaths and suffering of countless thousands on both sides.

A king, of no virtue, whom history would prove beyond doubt, to be a low life, conniving, back-stabbing liar.

A king, who would promise one thing on his royal oath and then do the exact opposite, if it suited his twisted agenda.

A king, who ordered his armies to systematically murder fifteen thousand innocent inhabitants of Berwick upon Tweed in 1296 and all because Scotland refused to accept his overlordship of our Nation.

A king, who destroyed this nation’s irreplaceable historical documents, burned churches and stole treasures and who carried a worthless chunk of sandstone which he believed, was the Stone of Scone, back to London, to be placed under an English throne to represent dominance over Scotland.
A king, who so feared William Wallace that when The Wallace was shamefully betrayed and captured, he had him dragged to London in chains like a dog and after the farce that constituted as a trial under English law, where Wallace had no legal representation, where the verdict was pre-ordained before the proceedings had even started, he had the great Wallace butchered before a baying crowd as part of the day’s market fairs entertainment.

A king, who foolishly believed that these barbaric acts would quell the rebellious Scots into submission.

Longshanks, you should have done your homework  into what makes we Scots tick, because in the words of another patriot of Scotland, born six hundred and fifty three years later and a far greater man than you would ever be: - “We’re still here Eddie, still here”

Here’s just a wee after- thought to turn over in your minds.  I’m sure most of you will already know of this but for those among us, who don’t,

On the side of Longshank’s sarcophagus containing his rotten, putrid, stinking remains in Westminster Abbey, is a sixteenth century inscription in Latin.

It reads thus....
EDWARDUS- PRIMUS- SCOTTORUM- MALLEUS- HIC- EST, 1308. PLACTUM- SERVA.
Here is Edward I, Hammer of the Scots, 1308 – Keep the Vow.

It is displayed predominately so that every visitor and tourist to Westminster Abbey can see and read it and marvel at England’s First Knight of Christendom, the mighty Edward, and how he tamed the barbaric Scots in the 13th century and brought that rebellious, savage rabble under English rule.
Even today, English arrogance knows no bounds – and to think, we still have within our nation’s midst, deluded countrymen and women who wish to continue a union with a country that openly promotes and gloats over a long-dead tyrant king, whose pitiful life was obsessed with planning Scotland’s destruction. It’s totally beyond my understanding and comprehension, why in God’s name, any self-respecting Scot would want such an unholy alliance with a parasitic nation that has waged war against us and bled us dry for centuries.

Of course, the seldom-sung sixth verse of the UK national anthem about crushing rebellious Scots is another example of how little England respects the Scottish nation.

You know, it always amuses me greatly and its guaranteed to put a wry smile on ma face, when I reflect on the many commemorations celebrated and the monuments and statues raised to Wallace’s memory, not just here in Scotland but worldwide, especially in America, Canada and Australia.
In comparison to Longshanks, who has a dilapidated, decaying sandstone pillar erected near Burgh by Sands where Eddie waved cheerio to Scotland and breathed his last to toddled off to fiery pits of Hell to keep his appointment wi’ “Auld Nick”.

The last time I checked, it was showing definite years of neglect and was in a sorry state. The Cumbrian wind and rain having eroded the stonework considerably, leaving it cracked and crumbling. The Scottish seagulls flying over the Solway Plain don’t have much respect for it either.
Now for me, that’s just poetic justice?

Perhaps my good friend Andy Middleton might consider some restoration work in memory of Auld Eddie?

Naw?

Thought not!

This remarkable monument however, was erected in 1912 so next year is the centenary of this fitting tribute to Wallace. It is also one hundred years since the formation of our own
Society of William Wallace.

I would imagine,  that the original members and subscribers who funded it, wouldn’t have visualised all of us standing here today paying homage to the memory of William Wallace, just as they and fellow patriots of Scotland did back then, but here we all are.

Wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to travel into the future and witness the monument’s and the society’s 200th anniversary on Wallace Day, 2112?

Unfortunately, I’m no pally enough wi’ Doctor Who and I don’t have the keys to Marty McFly’s DeLorean DMC so I’ll no’ get to see it.

I am of the strong opinion and belief however, that members of the society and patriots of Scotland will still be gathering in Elderslie to celebrate the deeds and bravery of Sir William Wallace in August, 2112 and of course to also celebrate the 98th anniversary of Scotland’s complete independence and the breakup of the Union, gained way back in referendum of June 2014.

And finally in finishing, I would like, if I may, read to you a short poem. The sentiments for me, sum up our nation and her people perfectly.

Who heard the ancient battle cry?
A chieftain’s bloodied sword held high,
Towards a cloudy cross, in the azure sky,
We - The Scots.

Who saw the pride on Wallace's face?
That Guardian of our noble race,
Who slew invaders with his sword and mace,
We - The Scots.

Who smelt the blood and sensed the fear?
Who felt The Bruce's spirit near?
At Bannockburn, who shed a tear?
We - The Scots.

Who knew the pride felt at Arbroath?
Which free men love and tyrants loathe,
Who signed the declaration and took the oath.
We - The Scots.

Who felt the shame and shivered cold?
Our heritage and our freedom sold,
For a pitiful chest of tainted gold,
We - The Scots.

Who paid a heavy blood-soaked toll?
So foreign powers could ne'er control,
Our Gaelic hearts and our Celtic souls,
We - The Scots

Who stands proud on the world’s stage?
Our discoveries, inventions to world, gave,
Suffering eased; countless lives now saved,
We -The Scots.
 

Who has been wronged for many a year?
A nation forged with blood and tear,
As independence and freedom, draws ever near,
We - The Scots.

Who will stand as a people, united and proud?
As the lion of Scotland, roars out aloud,
To herald a Nation, no longer chained or cowed
We - The Scots.
 

From a grateful son of Elderslie, to Elderslie’s greatest Son,

Sir William Wallace

I salute you.

Thank You patriots of Scotland.

Alba Gu Brath.

 
Our thanks to William for sharing his words online and for everybody for helping make this Wallace Day one of the best, on behalf of the Society, thank you!!
 


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