Michael Hitchon MBE – Ayr Arts Guild – 22 August

Michael Hitchon needed no introduction to most of the club members given his reputation as the long-term “face” and treasurer of Ayr Arts Guild. His accomplishments in bringing the arts to the Ayr public are legendary in the town.

Amongst many other community roles Michael has been president of Kyle and Carrick Civic Society which aims to promote interest in the history and character of the area and has played a key role in the successful Open Doors Day since 1990. In his role with the Ayr Arts Guild (AAG), since 1982 he has been the principal mover in putting on the Ayr Concert Series in the Town Hall. Unfortunately, due to a drop in funding, the usual 6 concerts/year have had to be reduced to 4 for this year.

The AAG is a charity which depends on a continuous stream of funding to deliver its objectives which are:

  The advancement of education.

  The advancement of citizenship or community development.

  The advancement of the arts, heritage, culture or science.

  The advancement of environmental protection or improvement.

In his easy and listenable manner, Michael explained that key to the viability of the AAG was its affiliation to as many as 80 community groups of which Ayr Rotary Club was the latest.

He went on to sprinkle his talk with the names of many nationally recognised figures in the field of musical entertainment including James McMillan, John Maxwell Geddes, and Nicola Benedetti to name just a few.

Unfortunately, the Town Hall seats only 491 people which restricts income. Thus it is increasingly difficult to attract “big names” to Ayr and the AAG would dearly like some other suitable venue to be able to promote such events.

Jimmy Begg, in his vote of thanks to Michael, congratulated him on delivering his excellent talk without the aid of any illustrations or the usual PowerPoint slides.

Michael (L) with Alan Meikle (R)