Tribute to historic Scots poet is launched in Moray

With Keith already established as Scotland’s first town to be conferred official status as a ‘Scots Toun’, Moray has already been established as leading the way in keeping the Scots Tongue alive.

Now Keith’s Traditional Music and Song Association (TSMA) is set to mark the 150th anniversary of Charles Murray’s birth by launching a poetry competition.

Murray was one of three traditional Doric poets in the north east – the others being Flora Garry and John C Milne – who provided a massive boost to the use of the Doric dialect of the Scots language.

Born in the north east Murray produced most of his work while living in South Africa where he worked as a civil engineer. His first poetry book, A Handful of Heather, was published in 1893 – it enjoyed only limited success, but his second publication, Hamewith, was released seven years later to massive acclaim.

Hamewith was reprinted five times before Murray died in April 1941.

In his memory the TSMA are asking the next generation to try their hand at creative writing – with the proviso that entries are in Scots and should be ‘inter-generational’.

TSMA committee member Marguerite Cruickshank said: “Well over 1.5million people officially speak Scots and roughly 42,000 in Moray still speak it.

“What I am trying to do is get the words handed down from generation to generation.”

Another TSMA member and local primary school teacher Joyce Dawson added: “As children are one of the most important elements of taking language forward, the idea is that they enlist the assistance of parents or grandparents in either a poem or story in Scots.”

A closing date for entries has been set for November 22 with the winning entry announced on St Andrew’s Day.

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