11th September 2014

European Hays in Annual Clan Gathering

by Tom Hye
Convenor, Continental Europe

Homage to a Hay

As every year, Tom Hye, Convenor Continental Europe for Clan Hay, arranged a ceremony to pay tribute to the fallen of the two world wars.

His wish to unite various clans on this occasion helps us salute the memory of previous generations of clansmen.  Clan Maclaren was represented by Laurent Rens and Martin Korvers, Clan Montgomery by Guy Foste Montgomery, Clan Maclean by Kenneth Maclean of Denboig and his wife Roswita, and Clan Hay by Jonathan Sayers and Tom Hye.  Unfortunately Clan Stewart could not be represented due to a personal problem.

This ceremony is always an exceptional mark of respect on the part of all the participants.  The involvement of the Last Post buglers and especially the presence of the Clan Hay Pipe Band, again under the direction of Pipe Major Philippe Vervoort (accompanied by five musicians) filled us with emotion, given the quality of the performance of the selected pieces.

Jonathan Sayers emphasised the importance of this event, remembering the sacrifice of these young people to allow us to live free.

As at every commemoration, to the sound of the bagpipes we processed to the Menin Gate and returned to Les Halles, the first Scottish clans pub in Belgium, which opened on March 1st 2014.  At the opening ceremony we were able to hang the crests of three clans – Maclaren, Montgomery and Hay – and on Saturday we had the pleasure of adding Clan Maclean in the presence of the Baron and Baroness of Dunboig.

After lunch, we went to the cemetery at Tune Cot Passendaele, and it was an opportunity to pay special tribute to a soldier from each clan, namely Albert Montgomery, Kenneth Maclean, Charles Samuel Hay and Andrew Maclaren, recalling the Paul Ooms, historian of the 1914-18 war died in 2012, whose ashes were scattered under the cemetery’s trees.

Before attending the tribute of the Last Post at 8.00 pm, we had a friendly drink.

After filing wreaths, including those of the Scottish clans, our pipers once again demonstrated the high level of their performance that justifies their invitation to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in 2015.

Dinner was held in ‘our’ pub – Les Halles Scottish Clans pub and then The Hoggies, the original Brussels-based Scottish ceilidh band, composed of four musicians, hosted an evening teaching us, under the supervision of Jonathan Sayers, a few dance steps.

Tom Hye thanked those present and proposed the various toasts recalling his decision to step back and be able to rely on assistants to organise a series of events.  It is clear he ensures the transfer of the necessary information and continues to supervise.  Given the importance of its relations with the leaders of the Last Post and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, he will retain the organisation of this event.

We will continue to keep abreast of the delegations that will be set up and so everyone will know where to turn to propose and organise any local activity.

Clan Gathering at Castle Ooidonk

It was an opportunity to pay tribute to Count Juan t’Kind de Roodenbeke who dies last year, and who was the driving force of Schotse Dagen (Scottish Days) in Castle Ooidonk.  To recap, the castle welcomes us every two years and the next festive gathering is ste on 29 and30 August 2015.  During the meal, and in the presence of representatives of the Clans Maclean, Maclaren, Montgomery and Hay, many proposals were raised and we will certainly keep you informed of the outcome, depending on the implementation of the necessary organisation.

This year, after lunch, a tour of Ghent was organised and sponsored with funds from various collections and raffles during our meetings of Clan Hay.  You can also note that funds were used to finance part of the cost of 20 Euros paid to The Hoggies, the band, to supplement the contribution paid by the participants at the evening meal.

By the services of a guide to the local area, possessed of a series of anecdotes, we were able to uncover many local and historical attractions off the beaten track.

The next Clans Days will take place on 29 and 30 August 2015.

21st August 2014

Bannockburn Live 2014

Clan Hay gathers at the statue of Robert the Bruce

Clan Hay gathers at the statue of Robert the Bruce

Clan Hay Pipe Band at Bannockburn Live

Clan Hay Pipe Band at Bannockburn Live

Hank Collins, the Earl of Erroll and Pipe Major Phillippe Vervoort

Hank Collins, the Earl of Erroll and Pipe Major Phillippe Vervoort

The Earl of Erroll, Ralph Rotheroe, the Countess of Erroll and Pam Rotheroe-Hay

The Earl of Erroll, Ralph Rotheroe, the Countess of Erroll and Pam Rotheroe-Hay

Hank and Suzanne Collins at the Clan Hay tent

Hank and Suzanne Collins at the Clan Hay tent









Clan Hay was positioned at the heart of the week-long celebration of the 700th anniversary of Scotland’s great victory at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, an iconic engagement that confirmed Scotland’s freedom and where our Hay ancestors played a valiant part in securing our independence from alien rule.

The anniversary of the battle itself, which took place over 23rd and 24th June 1314, was celebrated locally with wide involvement from local communities, in particular from the schools of the area.  But we had to wait for the following weekend to experience the main events of this magnificent celebration of Scotland’s nationhood.

A weekend of celebration began on Friday 27th June with Pipefest Stirling, a parade of pipe bands, dancers and Clan societies which made its way from the historic Royal palace of Stirling Castle to the King’s Knot, the park below the castle rock that is the site of the magnificent knot garden created by King James IV in the 15th century.

The Clan Hay Pipe Band was one of many bands privileged to take part in this event and their impressive performance has resulted in an invitation to participate in the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in 2015, an iconic event that is broadcast all over the world and is viewed by millions.

The band was most grateful to be presented with a new bass drum by our generous American member Henry (Hank) Lafayette Collins III during the event.

Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th June saw Bannockburn Live, a spectacular event held on (or very near) the site of the battle, at the newly refurbished Bannockburn Heritage Centre.  Clan Hay took its place in the Clan village with about 40 other families and we were delighted to welcome Hays from America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and continental Europe as well as native Scots.

The event was a pageant of 14th century history and included re-enactments of the battle itself, performed by experienced battlefield groups and reconstructed medieval villages featuring 14th century crafts including armourers, medieval food and drink and a festival of Scottish music, literature and story telling.

A truly memorable weekend.

4th July 2014

Clan Hay at Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Royal Mile parade

Clan Hay Pipe Band in Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, having just left the gates to Holyrood Palace

As a result of their impressive performance entertaining thousands of visitors to last weekend’s Bannockburn Live event, the Clan Hay Pipe Band has been invited to perform at next year’s Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

The Edinburgh Tattoo is a highlight of Scotland’s national events programme and has delighted a worldwide audience in every year since 1950.  This annual celebration of music and entertainment, combined with Scotland’s unique traditional military ceremonial, never fails to attract a global audience of millions.  Taking place in Edinburgh over three weeks in August, the Tattoo will be viewed by around 220,000 visitors on the castle esplanade and an estimated 100 million people across the globe will watch the performances on television.

This is the first time a clan pipe band has been invited to take part in the iconic event.  The 2015 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo will run from 2nd to 29th August.  Full details of performances by the Clan Hay Pipe Band will be published as soon as they are to hand.