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Celebrate the Birthday of Arctic Explorer Dr John Rae

Two public events are planned to mark the 209th birthday of Orphir-born Arctic Explorer John Rae on Friday September 30th .

John Rae statue by sculptor Ian Scott. Image credit Martin Laird

At noon, a piper will lead celebrants from the St Magnus graveyard gates up to John Rae’s burial place where John Rae expert Bryce Wilson will give an address, and a small libation of Highland Park whisky will be poured on John Rae’s grave to honour his memory. The public are requested to turn up at St Magnus Graveyard for noon on September 30th

flowers at the grave of Dr John Rae in St Magnus Cathedral kirkyard

Evening Celebrations and Fundraising Auction

Skaill House

The evening events to fundraise for the John Rae Society begin at Skaill House with a smoked salmon and fizz reception before the official draw of the John Rae Big Birthday Raffle. More than 2000 tickets have been sold over the last few months. Raffle prizes include a weekend stay for two at Skaill House, a bottle of the now sold-out special edition Highland Park John Rae Whisky, and items by local artists and craftspeople including jewellery from Malcolm Appleby and Sheila Fleet and artworks by Ingrid Grieve and Jeanne Bouza Rose.

The John Rae Society will hold an auction also at Skaill House from 7pm. Orkney’s John Copland is the auctioneer with lots including signed specialist books, original artworks, and a rare special edition Highland Park Whisky.

Those wanting to attend the Birthday Charity Auction, which is free, should register on Eventbrite here: John Rae Charity Auction and Reception Tickets, Fri 30 Sep 2022 at 19:00 | Eventbrite  or email Cheryl Chapman: chapman611@btinternet.com.

President of the John Rae Society Andrew Appleby said:

“As we mark the 209th anniversary of the birth of one of Orkney’s most famous sons, who displayed remarkable courage and resilience in the face of Arctic adversity on his explorations, we extend a warm welcome to his fellow Orcadians to join us to remember him at his graveside and in the evening to celebrate with appropriate fanfare and fizz that will raise vital funds to create a fitting legacy to John Rae’s achievements.”

The John Rae Society is working to restore John Rae’s derelict Grade A listed family home and create an International Arctic Visitor Centre in Orphir.

Image credit: John Welburn ABIPP 2021

“Our aim is to welcome the world to Orkney to celebrate John Rae’s pioneering work in the Arctic at his restored home and centre where we can work in partnership to grow and share an understanding of the Arctic through education, research, knowledge transfer and cultural awareness,” added Andrew.

See also:

Last year’s grave side commemoration

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