Beallacott Burns night

Burns Night 2022

Address to a Haggis - Craig Beall

Abridged due to hungry stomachs. 'Address to a Haggis', by Robert Burns


Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,

Great chieftain o' the pudding-race!

Aboon them a' ye tak your place,

Painch, tripe, or thairm :

Weel are ye wordy o'a grace

As lang's my arm.


Ye Pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care,

And dish them out their bill o' fare,

Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware

That jaups in luggies;

But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer

Gie her a haggis!

Toast to the Lassies - Wyn Firth

Here we are, gathered again, to mark Burns’ night among colleagues and friends. After toasting a Haggis and feasting together… albeit virtually… we have come to that part of the evening – the toast to the lassies.

I thought I would begin with something that, among various other things, Robert Burns once wrote:

Let Majesty your first attention summon,

Ah! ca ira! The Majesty Of Woman!


And so we come to the people of the moment: our sisters in science!

The metabolism masterminds, inflammation eminences and technical titans.

I owe most of my sciencey skills to you, the people sat here tonight, and without your wits and willingness to teach I would still be muddling my way through the most basic of techniques!


But it goes further than that - the islet intelligences, macrophage maestros, rodent rodeo riders, and grant gurus: our scientists, friends, and sources of support, one and all. Every day each of you goes above and beyond, driven by your passion for science. Your hard work, resilience, and ingenuity are an inspiration to me, and I can only try to emulate it. Every day I am honoured to be in your company, and I know that sentiment is shared by the other ‘lads’ of the group.


Your skills and achievements go far beyond the lab: wonder weavers one and all; the mothers, teachers, leaders, endurance experts and strength specialists.

You each should be proud of all you’ve achieved, and I am sure you have plenty more up your sleeves!


So lads, I propose a toast: here’s to the lassies.



Wyn Firth, Beallacott Burns Night 2022

Reply to the Toast to the Lassies - Ana Cruz

Unfamiliar though I am

with waxing lyrical about men

it falls to me to present the lasses reply

so here I am, putting paper to pen

But in times of Trump and Boris

where #metoo joins our voices in chorus

I was truly lost for words

and hence befriended a thesaurus

Thank you Wyn for the truly amazing account of our skills

thought, we know, we’re the ones that pay the bills

but truly, resilience, ingenuity, inspiration,

thank you, we know that we could run the nation.

Now, to compose an ode in rhyme

has driven me practically mental

but alas, the chance has come

To pay tribute to the gentle…men

I once met a man, Dr Beall

great mentor and friend I thought, ideal!

but soon I found out

that there was no doubt

a whole lot more to reveal

Lasses take note of his expertise

although… can we even trust lefties?

after all Craig's job is to inspire us

but he didn’t even outrun the virus!

Lockdown was tough on us all

but science goes on, after all

Craig cycled, cooked and ran

built stuff with his hands, like a man

he worked nonstop to meet deadlines,

no doubt, over multiple wines

but it wasn’t all bad in end

because… though his haircut was shabby

he managed to make a wee babbie

I once met a man, Dr Potter

who lifts big weights, for a spotter

a true leader, ambitious, great scientist

who is always the first to assist

follows all the steps of Dr Beall

fellowships, grants, no big deal

but catching Covid was no jog…

and lycra feels tight on his log…

so when he picks up his sprogue

he’ll think

shall I too get a dog!?

I once met a man, D..Mr Firth

who loved TSPO since birth

young ambitious perhaps naïve

to think an IP he could achieve

but on Wyn I won’t dwell

as his compliments were swell

and this brings me to the end quite well

But here is the thing chaps,

we can’t live with you and we wouldn’t be without you,

life would be no fun and no Westerns would be run

so lassies join me in raising a glass to the leaders, husbands, brothers and baby daddies

may you always be our laddies.


Ana Cruz, Beallacott Burns Night 2022

Poem for the Haggis - Katherine Pye

The Haggis, some say, is a curious beast,

But if you can catch it, it’ll make for a feast!

Visit the hills under a silvered night

And you might get a glimpse of a Haggis in flight.

On lopsided legs through heather and moor

The Haggis bounds, its footing quite sure.

Quick as a flash, it sets such a pace,

That even the wildcat would struggle to chase.


But fleetness of foot isn’t the only feature

That makes the Wild Haggis such a singular creature.

It has wiry whiskers and thistledown fur,

And a short fat tail like a prickly bur;

The legs on its right-side and those on its left

Are two different lengths - which makes it quite deft

At running ‘round hills and nipping through legs

Of the reindeer that graze on Winter’s dregs.


Like shot from a catapult, flung to the sky,

Such are the birds as the Haggis runs by;

It dips and dives through the thistly maze,

Keen to avoid the high above gaze

Of the circling eagle, who’s looking to snare

A Haggis-sized snack to take back to its lair.

But the Haggis’ wiles are never depleted;

Those who hunt it are often defeated.


So get ready your whisky, your tatties and neeps,

But perhaps make sure that it’ll all keep,

Because with the Haggis you might meet your match -

That timorous beastie’s not easy to catch!



Katherine Pye, Jan 2021

The team very much enjoying Dr Ana Cruz's Reply to the Toast to the Lassies!