Oration

Friday 31st May 2019 – 8:00 Pm – 10:00 Pm

The Newland Oration will be given by Kirsty Margaret McIver (nee Anderson) at Bathgate High Church Hall, from 8pm on Friday, 31st May – the eve of the Bathgate Procession and John Newland Festival.

Words from this years Orator

Kirsty Margaret McIver (nee Anderson)

Born a “Bathgate Bairn” in Bangour Village Hospital in 1973, I lived all my life in Limefield Crescent until I left to go to University in 1991.  I attended Balbardie Primary, initially at the Old Academy and then at the new school in Torphichen Street before progressing on to Bathgate Academy where I completed my school education.  

I gained a BA Honours from Napier University, Edinburgh in 1995.  A Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow in 2000 and my Diploma in Legal Practice from the Glasgow Graduate School of Law in 2001 before qualifying as a Solicitor in 2003.

I currently hold the position of Senior Legal Counsel within the Government of Dubai Legal Affairs Department.  As Senior Legal Counsel, I lead a project to implement Continuing Professional Development Training, a mandatory course for all lawyers practising in Dubai.  This project is now entering its third year, which is a huge triumph for Dubai as it is the first of its kind in the Middle East. I also headed a project to launch a systemised Pro Bono project for all lawyers in Dubai to become involved in, which ensures that all members of society have access to free legal advice, should they need it.  This involved several outreach programs to embassies and consulates in Dubai as well as educational programs for users of the service. Again, this was the first project of this nature in the Middle East.

I am now head of a project to ensure lawyers entering Dubai from any country in the world are properly qualified in terms of the laws of Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, to advise on local laws in addition to the qualification they hold in their home jurisdiction.  This project is in its infancy but will ensure a high standard of legal advice in the Emirate.

I left Bathgate in 2006 to work in Dubai but my heart will always belong to Bathgate.  Growing up, I was a member of the Bathgate Swimming Club, The Betty Pettigrew’s Highland Dancing Club, The Bathgate Band and a founder member of Newland Concert Brass.

I have fond memories of the many years I took part in the Procession in various guises; a mermaid on the Bathgate Swimming Club float, a pirate on the Balbardie Primary School float and a Flower Girl in the 1980’s.  In the years to follow, I walked in the Procession as part of the Bathgate Junior Band and latterly, my greatest joy, playing with Newland Concert Brass.  I still remember the feeling of pride when playing Morag’s Faery Glen as we left the Old Academy to start another Procession.

The Procession is truly a family day and it is with a great sense of pride that I can say that my family has been a part of it for many years.  My dad used to make breakfast for the band on Procession morning in the High Church Hall before we roped him in to playing the big drum in the Procession walk itself.  My mum, May Anderson, is a previous winner of the John Hunter Medal and my sister, Adele Gill was a recipient of the John Hardy Award to Youth. This year, my eldest nephew Fraser will be playing in Newland Concert Brass cheered on by his twin brothers Aaron and Finlay as well as my own son, Lewis. My godson Matthew Downs will be carrying the Windyknowe school banner while his sister, Lauren is in the pageant this year, as a Lady in Waiting.

I always remember family and school friends standing in the same position on the Procession route every year and waiting to spot them or hear them shout my name for a customary procession day wave.  All these years later I will be in one of the Procession cars and look forward to giving you all a wave on what I hope is a day filled with joy and sunshine for all.