At the time of most of the following meetings, there was no formal committee looking after the Club business. Yes, there was a President/Chairman ‘Sweep’ Brown in 1976, there was a Secretary, and there was a Treasurer and those three essentially organised everything that required attention. As Willie Shanks was Secretary/Treasurer, everything seems to have been done by two of them.
At a meeting of the Club on 17th November 1975, the following was discussed, agreed and minuted. The secretary wrote: “There was a suggestion that we bring ladies into the Club. It was agreed that the chairman announce it at the Supper (January 1976) and tell everyone that the subject would be discussed at the AGM on Saturday 14th February 1976.”
In his report of the 1976 Supper, the secretary Willie Shanks wrote: “The Chairman (Sweep Brown) told the company of the motion put forward that women be admitted into the Club and how it would be discussed and voted upon at the ‘Pickin’ o’ the Banes’ in the village hall.”
At that meeting, the matter was indeed discussed and the following minuted: “The motion that ladies come into the Club’ after much discussion, was put to the vote. An amendment was put forward which was a one-year trial. The chairman explained the three options clearly. The result was a] a year’s trial – 4 votes, b] no ladies admitted to the Club – 6 votes c] ladies to be admitted – 2 votes. Carried by a Majority – No Ladies in the Club.”
John Mathers proposed a social evening be held after the AGMs but the Secretary said there would be little time left after the meetings. The secretary proposed a full evening event starting with a Burns Supper. Such a social night was agreed on, but discussion would be left until the autumn meeting.
At the autumn meeting of the Club on 25th October 1976, the Secretary recorded “It was agreed that a social night be held on Friday 1st April 1977 called a “Nicht wi’ the Lasses.” It would be held in the Kestrel Hotel in the new reception room which would be completed by then. A new venture by the Club in which partners can participate.”
The first “Nicht wi’ the Lasses” was a great success. The Secretary described the event as follows: “We started off with a Burns Supper, the chairman welcoming all present. The haggis was piped in by Kerr Cowan, to be addressed by Robin Rankin and I gave the Selkirk Grace. The Chairman gave a summary of the Club’s history and Mr Peutherer gave the Toast to the Lasses, We had a nicht of dancing mixed with songs from Jimmy & Morag Dunbar well into the wee sma’ hours. The evening wound up with Auld Lang Syne and three hearty cheers.” An impromtu meeting was held by those who had arranged the evening and a decision was made to hold another Nicht wi’ the Lasses in the autumn.
The second Nicht wi’ the Lasses took place on 28th November 1977. It followed the same format as the original event with Eddie McCue in the chair. Kerr Cowan, by then the Pipe Major of the Colinton & Currie Pipe Band piped the haggis in for Eddie to Address and the Selkirk Grace was given by Willie Shanks. Dancing to the music of the Claymore Band was described as “energetic & hilarious” with the evening closing with Auld Lang Syne.
On 10th March 1978, the third Nicht wi’ the Lasses was held in the Kestrel Hotel. Kerr Cowan piped in the Haggis which was Addressed by Willie Shanks. Harry Rankin gave the Selkirk Grace and Eddie McCue the Grace After Meat, The Claymore Band kept the feet tapping and the floor full. The Piper gave several selections of tunes with Morag & Jimmy Dunbar leading a selection of songs accompanied by Morag on the guitar.The merriment went on into the wee sma hours and ended with Auld Lang Syne in traditional style.
On 17th November 1978, the fourth Nicht wi’ the Lasses was held at the Kestrel Hotel. The Secretary recorded that it was a ‘full house’ with 86 sitting down for a meal of cock-a-leekie soup and haggis, neeps and tatties. Kerr Cowan piped in the haggis which was carriued by John Mathers and addressed by Willie Shanks with Harry Rankin giving the Selkirk Grace. The floor was cleared for a night of dancing intersperced by the singing of Margaret Grieve in her native Gaelic. Harry Rankin sang the Balerno Song and the evening finished with Auld Lang Syne.
On 16th March 1979, the fifth Nicht wi the Lasses was held at the Kestrel Hotel with Eddie McCue the MC. 72 sat down for the supper; The haggis, carried by Bill Ransay, was piped in by Kerr Cowan for it to be addresses by the Club’s oldest member Harry Rankin. Dancing was to the music of the Claymore Band laced with other entertainment including a Burns Quiz organised by Eddie McCue. The evening finished with Auld Lang Syne.
On 14th December 1979, the sixth Nicht wi the Lasses was held in the Kestrel Hotel. Kerr Cowan piped in the haggis which was carried by John Mathers and addressed by Willie Shanks. Harry Rankin gave the Selkirk Grace with Eddie McCue giving Grace after Meat. The nicht drave on with mirth, fun and song before finishing with Auld Lang Syne.
On 14th March 1980, the seventh Nicht wi the Lasses was held at the Kestrel Hotel. The haggis, carried by Bill Fraser was piped in by Kerr Cowan for it to be addressed by Willie Shanks. Eddie McCue gave the Selkirk Grace before 74 took their seats for the supper. Eddie gave Grace after Meat before the dancing commenced to the music of the Auchengray Country Dance Band intersperced with songs from Margaret Grieve. The evening finished with Auld Lang Syne.
On 21st November 1980, the eighth Nicht wi’ the Lasses was held at the Kestrel Hotel. The haggis, carried by John Robson was piped in by Kerr Cowan for it to be addressed by John Mathers and Willie Shanks gave the Selkirk Grace. The time flew by on another evening of song and dance before finishing with Auld Lang Syne.
On 20th November 1981, the ninth Nicht wi the Lasses was held at the Kestrel Hotel. Eddie McCue was MC and 72 sat down to the Supper. The haggis was piped in by Kerr Cowan and addressed by John Mathers. Eddie McCue gave the Selkirk Grace and also Grace after Meat. Another evening of song and dance followed ending with Auld Lang Syne.
On 19th November 1982, the tenth Nicht wi’ the Lasses was held in the function room of Balerno Bowling Club.with over 50 members and guests in attendance. On this occasion 18 senior residents of the village were invited to join the company free of charge and a raffle was held to help finance the evening. Following the supper, the dancing commenced to the music of the Claymore Band. A quiz was held and the raffle drawn. The Club received a mention in the Edinburgh Evening News for inviting the elderly folk from the village. The secretary made comment in his report that the “raffle didn’t work out as planned due to many members not selling their tickets or returning the unsold ones. The evening ended with Auld Lang Syne in the early hours.
Three years went by without a further Nicht wi’ the Lasses.
 On 30th November 1985, the eleventh Nicht wi’ the Lasses was held in the function room of Balerno Bowling Club. This was three years since the previous event. This record of the event is less than previous occasions but it does record that a supper was held prior to dancing to the music of the Claymore Band. There was singing, a Burns quiz and ended with Auld Lang Syne. The secretary recorded that many of the ladies in attendance asked to have membership of the Club and many more questioned the format of the Nichts wi’ the Lasses.
Our Secretary was aging which became obvious by the accuracy of his minutes and reports. At this time he was 80 years of age and somehow, two reports of this 1995 Nicht wi’ the Lasses (together with other events) appeared in his minute book. The second report below carries a bit more detail:
 On 30th November 1985 the Nicht wi’ the Lasses was held in the function room of Balerno Bowling Club. The haggis, carried by Ian Harper was piped in by Kerr Cowan for it to be addressed by a trio namely Willie Shanks. Eddie McCue and John Mathers. The company took their seats for for the supper after wich singing, dancing and a Burns quiz filled the night which ended with Auld Lang Syne.
On 28th November 1986, the twelfth Nicht wi’ the Lasses was held in the Kestrel Hotel with a company of over 70 in attendance. Starting with a haggis supper piped in by Kerr Cowan then on with the dance. In the early hours, the evening came to an end with Auld Lang Syne.
At the Annual General Meeting 10th November 1987 the following was recorded by Gordon Grant on behalf of Willie Shanks: The Nicht wi’ the Lasses; John Mathers intimated that a provisional booking of the function room at the Bowling Club had been made . Certain regulations obtaining there were found unacceptable. The alternative venue of the new hall at Johnsburn House was decided on.
On Friday 4th December 1987, the thirteenth Night Wi’ the Lasses was held at Johnsburn House with a full house of 74 in attendance. The haggis was piped in by Kerr Cowan and Alan Shiels. It was addressed by the trio Willie Shanks. Eddie McCue and John Mathers. and Willie gave the Selkirk Grace. An excellent meal, excellent band and a happy company. The chairman’s quiz on Burns gave the dancers a chance to get their breath back. Another evening of song and dance followed ending with Auld Lang Syne.
At the Committee Meeting held in Johnsburn House on 12th January 1988, the following was recorded under a sub-heading Nicht wi’ the Lasses: “The Secretary reported on the successful evening held in Johnsburn House on 4th December 1987. The account showed a credit balance on the event of £8.oo . The worthwhileness of the dance where a mere 20% of the Club membership attended and its liability to loss was discussed at length. A decision on its continuance was deferred to a later meeting.”
At the Committee Meeting held at the Kestrel Hotel on Monday 13th September 1988, the matter was again discussed and a decision taken to put the decision out to the membership by including it in the Agenda for the forthcoming Annual General Meeting.
At the Annual General Meeting held in the Kestrel Hotel on Monday 14th November 1988 the subject was again discussed. The proposal that the event be dropped from the Club’s annual calendar was passed.
At the time of writing in September 2023, the Nicht’s wi’ the Lasses have not been resurrected.