Cupar’s Commemoration & Celebration Weekend 2022

Cupar’s second ‘Celebration Weekend’ that was adapted to include formal commemorations as a mark of respect to the late Queen has been hailed a success by organisers. The weekend saw hundreds of people attend a whole host of events for “the young and not-so-young”, all helping to promote Cupar, the town’s businesses and community groups.

The death of the Queen saw a change to the weekend’s running order – and resulted in a proclamation from Robert Balfour, His Majesty the King’s Lord Lieutenant of Fife, that was read to ‘the citizens of Cupar & District’ by the Chair of Cupar Development Trust ahead of a two minutes’ silence on the Saturday.

Activities on the Saturday coincided with BBC Scotland being in town to film an upcoming episode in their series, My Kind of Town. Presenter, Ian Hamilton, is seen below when in town at the Fife Farmers’ Market.

One of the reasons they chose Cupar is because it is home to CuparNow, Scotland’s only Digital Improvement District. We met with the crew in advance: they asked how they might show the digital support being given. We’d like to thank Emili & Christopher at Luvians who agreed to a podcast that we recorded in store on the Thursday evening before the weekend, enabling the crew to film for use in the programme. You can listen by clicking here or on the image below …

Events across the weekend included the promotion of Cupar’s Food & Drink Trail, featuring some 40 businesses across the town, together with activities that – this year – were able to include local school children.

Isla Lumsden, head teacher at Cupar’s Kilmaron School, says: “The experience was excellent. The interview with a reincarnated Sir David Lyndsay – who came back to his Cupar home from the sixteenth century – the medieval music, the Old Scots poetry recitals and songs from Gerda Stevenson were all well received by the youngsters.” Isla adds: “The children were mesmerised by all of the different musical instruments and the comedy of the presentations delivered by John Sampson.

The two minutes’ silence at The Cross was observed by all attending as well as by those in nearby shops and at the Fife Farmers’ Market stalls. It was recorded and can be viewed on our YouTube channel:

Cupar Development Trust Chair, Bill Pagan, explains how the weekend and collaboration came to fruition, saying: “The weekend was born out of the lockdown that saw so many community events cancelled. Last year’s inaugural success led to all those involved wishing to build on that foundation to deliver another celebration.” He adds: “Naturally, with Her Majesty’s death, we had to change elements of the weekend and decided to proceed with a commemoration that would help to bring the community together.

That took place at the town’s market cross together with a series of proclamations, readings, music and poetry together with the unveiling of an interpretive sign (below) that forms part of a heritage trail around the town. Funding for the sign – replacing one that was vandalised in 2021 – came through a new Crowd Fund has been launched. Managed through the charity Three Estates Cupar, it will be overseen by Cupar Development Trust. We would like to express particular thanks to the William Hill branch in Cupar for their contribution that has enabled the panel to be replaced.

The Cupar & District Pipe Band performed, and all was followed by other activities in the Corn Exchange – including a medieval feast for children delivered by the local charity, The Sunshine Kitchen, an art project, overseen by Cupar Arts, as well as a concert performed by students from the University of St Andrews.

There was also story telling for children and families at Castlehill Community Centre.

Raymond Young, secretary of Castlehill Community Association – one of the organisations involved in the weekend’s planning and delivery – echoed Bill’s comments, adding: “Cupar folk turned up in good numbers and so many people got a great deal out of the events and activities.” He added: “Everyone did their bit, and it was all greatly appreciated by those present. The children and young people were amazing as were the staff, parents and carers who accompanied them.

Pipe Major, Leslie Thompson, played The Flowers of the Forest. Trumpeter, John Sampson, played the Last Post. After the two-minute silence, he played Reveille and the assembled crowd then sang the national anthem, the first time God Save the King will have been heard in the town for more than 70 years.

On Sunday, a Gathering of Societies was held in Cupar’s Haugh Park and more than 20 local groups, clubs and societies helped to deliver the day. It was supported by performances on the bandstand – including the local singer-songwriter Rebekah Lennon – together with a guided heritage walk from the town’s war memorial.

The Sunday ‘gathering’ coincided with the final day of Stirling’s Funfair being in the town. Organisers helped to promote the fair and, in return, the fair has made a donation to a fund that will help support ‘community benefit’ initiatives ongoing.


Additional Commemorations …

Fife Council kindly agreed to open the County Buildings on St Catherine Street on the Saturday to allow people to sign the Book of Condolence.  Cupar Development Trust had its own at the Gathering of Societies on Sunday and those added were handed in to the Council to add to the town’s contribution.

Separately, on the Sunday evening, Joe Preece of the Royal British Legion organised a gathering at the Haugh Park Bandstand.  There must have been close to 50 assembled in the fading light including members of the Stirlings’ Funfair team who suspended their dismantling to respect the ceremony. Bill Pagan spoke stressing how special the event was, not remembering millions, or thousands, or hundreds – as usual at such events – but a “single special lady”. Joe Preece called for the one-minute silence. Ian Wotherspoon of the Cupar & District Pipe Band played Oft in the Stilly Night and all joined in singing God Save The King.


Thank you …

A huge thank you is given to all of those involved – so many volunteering their time and resources to deliver this celebration. Steered by Cupar Development Trust, the collective includes Bell Baxter High School, Castlehill Community Centre, Castlehill Primary School, Cupar & District Pipe Band, Cupar Arts, Cupar Camera Club, Cupar Community Council, Cupar in Bloom, Cupar Library, Cupar Museum & Heritage Centre, Cupar Old Parish Church, Fife Farmers’ Market, Fife Voluntary Action, Kate Kennedy Club, Kilmaron School, Rotary Club of Cupar, Steve Penrice Archive, St John’s & Dairsie United Parish Church, The Lighthouse, The Rotary Club of Cupar, The Sunshine Kitchen and the University of St Andrews Music Centre

The organisers would also like to thank the staff at Fife Council and Police Scotland for their help and support in planning and delivering the weekend. We would also like to thank all those at Stirling’s Family Funfair for their help and co-operation – as well as their donation. And thanks also to the Bruce Charitable Trust for their financial support towards the weekend’s events.

A final thank you to those who helped to hand out the guide we created for the weekend. Each contained £6.00 worth of vouchers to help discount rides for children and families visiting the Funfair. A special vote of thanks to Gavin Wadell for his help in delivering leaflets and posters to help publicise the weekend.


2023 …


A meeting has already taken place involving those organisations involved in the weekend who were able to attend; a social event is planned for mid-November where all local community groups will be invited to help start plans for the town’s Celebration Weekend in September next year. The e-mailing list for those organisations is managed through Cupar Development Trust. It includes some 240 contacts representing more than 90 organisations. Our site includes a Community Directory that has been compiled across more than two years. It includes some 89 groups, clubs, socieites and associations across Cupar & District. You can find it here. If you are part of a group that is not listed, get in touch now giving details on your group including an address (if you have a venue), contact information and any links including your website and social media.


Thanks for reading!


Feature image: Cupar’s Commemoration: Bill Pagan, Chair of Cupar Development Trust, reads out the proclamation from Robert Balfour, His Majesty the King’s Lord Lieutenant of Fife, alongside a 21st century reincarnation of Sir David Lyndsay played by Frank Quinault, Trustee of the Kate Kennedy Society of St Andrews.

Feature Photo: Cupar Camera Club.

We would like to thank the Club for covering the weekend.