Jimmie Dunbar

by untangledwebl
Born  16th March 1940 at Kilmarnock
Died 18th September 2023 in Edinburgh

Honorary Member of ‘Let it Blaw’

Honorary  President

2018,  2019,  2020,  2021,  2022,  2023

Honorary  Vice President

2014,  2015,  2016,  2017


2004,  2005,  2006




1993,  1994,  1995 , 1996

Recited the Address  “To a Haggis”   1980,  2007

Proposer of the Toast  “New Members”  1983

Proposer of the Toast  “The Immortal Memory of Robert Burns”  1984

Reply to the Toast  “The Lasses”  1992

Sang the “Balerno Song” 
1993,  2004,  2016,  2017,  2018,  2019
also together with Jack McCaig Snr. 2014,  2015

One of Let it Blaw’s “Jolly Beggars1999,  2003

Proposer of the Toast  “Let it Blaw – the Balerno Burns Club”  2000,  2014

Proposer of the Toast  “Our Hosts” or “The Landlord – Landlady”    2013

Served on the Club Committee
1995,  1996,  2001,  2002,  2007,  2008,  2009,  2013,  2014,  2015,  2016

Jimmie Dunbar was born and brought up in Burns Country. His early years were spent in the Ayrshire village of Riccarton which is located on the River Irvine. He crossed the river daily to attend High School in Kilmarnock where his parents were licensees of a public house.

For reasons lost in time, Jimmie moved to Edinburgh with his parents in the mid/late 60s and settled in the Alnwickhill area. His parents managed a pub in Fountainbridge and Jimmie worked for the Burtons organisation looking after window displays at their shops in Lothian and Fife. 

Folk singing was very popular in the Edinburgh area at that time and Jimmie, together with his other half Morag, was part of a group of singers and musicians who frequented the Halfway House in Fleshmarket Close. He sang with a group which had regular gigs in the Kings Manor Hotel, and then, together with Morag as part of a group, in a regular Friday gig at the now demolished Straiton Inn.

Jimmie travelled to Ireland many times, often with Morag and just as often with Carl John, and became known in many of the pubs in Dublin and Dingle where traditional music and song was to be heard. He had many friends in the Irish music scene and also down in Wales where he also visited frequently.

Jimmie and Morag married and moved to Balerno in 1972 buying a former mill-worker’s house in Harlaw Road next door to Raymond Ward

In1977, Jimmie joined the membership of ‘Let it Blaw’ and, while it’s believed he sttended the Supper of 1977, his first recorded appearance at a ‘Let it Blaw’ event was with Morag was at the Club’s “Nicht wi’ the Lasses” in April of that year. The quality of their singing and Morag’s guitar playing were recorded in the Secretary’s report of the event.

Jimmie was involved in the formation of Balerno SNP Branch along with Morag and Carl John, and was also involved with Morag, Gavin Scott, Robin Murdoch and Alex Hood in the formation of the Balerno Folk Club.  Sadly, Jimmie and Morag were to part and go their separate ways in 1984.

Jimmie went on to play a significant part in ‘Let it Blaw’ where his main interest was in singing rather than toasts and poetry. He started off many suppers by leading the company in a Man’s a Man, often led the singing of the Balerno Song and, almost inevitably, was one of the Club’s “Jolly Beggars” in 1999 and 2003.

Jimmie proposed all the main Toasts at our Suppers proposing the Immortal Memory of Robert Burns in 1984. He was a croupier for four years together with his good friend Jim Nixon; one of the memorable pairings. In 2003, he was elected Vice President of the Club and, the following year, elected President, a position he held for three years. In 2014 he was elected Honorary Vice President and then, in 2018, Honorary President, a position he held for six years.

When the Jolly Beggars talked of a third performance in 2016, Jimmy declined the offer to participate due to his weakening voice. This was surprising, but when he later found his renditions of the Balerno Song difficult, many of us realised his singing days were numbered.

Jimmie in the Jolly Beggars – 2003

When Jimmie felt unable to attend the 2023 Supper, he advised that he was going into hospital at the end of January for an operation. His general condition declined and the operation never happened. Jimmie was moved to Davidson House (hospital) in Seafield Road, Edinburgh where he passed away on Monday 18th September 2023.

Jimmie is survived by Fiona, his partner for over 30 years. He was buried in Currie Kirkyard where he will no doubt enjoy the company of other ‘Let it Blaw’ Presidents, Honorary Presidents and even Founder Members.

When Death’s dark stream I ferry o’er
(A time that surely shall come),
In Heaven itself I’ll ask no more,
Than just a Highland welcome.