St Andrews Race Day

St Andrews Race Day

One of the major events on the social calendar in Scone and district during the decade beginning in the early 1970s was the St Andrews Race Day. The inaugural event run under the auspices of the Scone Race Club was held on Saturday 1st December 1973 at White Park. (See Featured Image)

This was the brain child of the late Murray Bain who sadly passed away a short few months after the initial event (March 1974). His mind was a very rich and fertile cornucopia of novel ideas. The Scone Scots had also just begun its bell-curve lifespan peaking in the late 1970s. One fed off the other. St Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland and his special ‘day’ was around the last Saturday in November each year. Appropriate celebrations were a ‘natural’ for a town such as Scone.

It worked extraordinarily well for a few years until stale lassitude developed among the early volunteer protagonists who were not replaced. Both then passed into the annals of history; expanding this category still further.

The Race Meeting was an outstanding success which depended on the initial drive and enthusiasm of the early committees. A lot went into the planning and actual delivery of the day which was a major social occasion ‘by invitation only’. Dewar’s Scotch Whisky Ltd was the main sponsor and generously provided the principal ingredients for the iconic brew Athol Brose. Sometimes I wished they hadn’t! This was served prior to lunch in the Scone Golf Club from whence the party-goers walked the short distance of the straight into the race club enclosure. Highland kilts were the preferred dress option for male racegoers. Many acquiesced; including the Sassenach author! The City of Newcastle Pipe Band provided further authentic Scots’ culture. Murray Bain was patron of the latter.

I’m writing this for posterity; otherwise it might be totally forgotten? It’s just another in the abundant archive of transient cultural celebrations which have made both their entry and egress in little more than two decades lifespan? I don’t think Scone is any different to anywhere else? You can’t depend on unlimited volunteer support for ever.