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.