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Kinross-shire poet’s work lives on

Dr David Munro MBE, chairman of the Michael Bruce Trust welcomes guests to the garden party.
Dr David Munro MBE, chairman of the Michael Bruce Trust welcomes guests to the garden party.

The 250th anniversary of the death of a poet whose work is still performed today has been marked in the Kinross-shire parish of Portmoak.

Michael Bruce (1746-67), who died tragically young, came to be known as the Gentle Poet of Lochleven.

The author of more than 40 poems, including the celebrated Ode to the Cuckoo, Bruce also penned more than a dozen paraphrases and hymns that are still sung in churches throughout the world.

A garden party was held outside the cottage in Kinnesswood where Bruce was born just three weeks before the Battle of Culloden, and where he died on July 5 1767 at the early age of 21.

This event included story telling by Sylvia Troon and music performed by the Portmoak Players led by David Batchelor. It was also the first performance of a specially commissioned musical work by Ian Dunnett  titled The Loan to the Hill.

On display in the cottage museum garden, which is maintained by Kinnesswood in Bloom volunteers,  were examples of art work and poetry provided by pupils of Portmoak Primary School.

A new information board and memorial bench were unveiled and an anniversary cake was cut by Shelagh Goudie, a trustee of the Michael Bruce Memorial Trust which aims to keep the memory of the poet alive.

A special anniversary service led by former Moderator of the Church of Scotland the Very Reverend Angus Morrison was also held where a wreath was laid on the poet’s grave by Professor David Munro,  chairman of the Michael Bruce Trust.

The week’s anniversary celebrations concluded with a walk along the Michael Bruce Way which is dedicated to the memory of the Gentle Poet of Lochleven.

The anniversary programme, organised by the Michael Bruce Memorial Trust and coordinated by Norma Smith, was made possible with a Heritage Lottery Fund Celebration Fund grant.

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