President Alastair Morrice chaired Kirriemuir Probus Club’s last meeting, at which he introduced new member Bert Reid.
The guest speaker was John Thompson from Ceres, whose subject was ‘Sir Jimmy Shand’. John told Shand’s life story, from humble beginnings as a miner’s son in East Wemyss, his father and brother both melodeon players.
He started playing mouth organ at the age of eight, graduating to an accordion soon after, and he took part in local entertainment to supplement the family income. While trying an accordion in Forbes music shop in Dundee, the proprietor, recognising exceptional talent, offered him a job as a van salesman. From that point his career blossomed.
In 1946 he formed a full-time band, appearing in ever-larger venues around Britain and overseas. Regular television performances followed. He retired in 1972, restricting himself to local appearances. The recipient of numerous music industry honours, honorary doctorates from several universities, he was knighted in 1999. A lively question and answer session followed, with reminiscences exchanged.
The next meeting will be on October 15, when Brian Dingwall will talk on ‘Aspects of Remembrance’.