Tribute to Angus McGillveray
In 1994 Angus McGillveray edited and
printed a selection of Scottish songs from the various 'Rebel Ceilidh Song
Books' published in the 50's and 60's. Following his death in 1996, SNP HQ
reprinted further copies of 'The Rebel Ceilidh Song Book' and a new
edition is planned for the near future. Meanwhile, in tribute to Angus
McGillveray, the songs will appear, week by week, on 'Flag in the Wind'.
It was aye a pleasure to meet Angus
McGillveray - for a crack, a dram or a song - he was always great company.
He had a deep love and knowing of his beloved Scotland and was an example
of the best in the Scottish Nation and Scottish Nationalism.
"With the death on 4 November 1996 of
Angus McGillveray the Nationalist Movement has lost one of its most
engaging and best know members" - so wrote former SNP National
Chairman, William C Wolfe.
Billy Wolfe was right. Angus McGillveray
was a Party institution and was probably better know to rank and file
members of the Scottish National Party than many of the Party's National
Office Bearers. To many Angus was the SNP.
From 1964 onwards Angus, until his retiral
in 1995, ran the SNP Publications Department and through the weekly draw,
Alba Pools, he helped raise the necessary siller to finance the rise of
the modern SNP. On a personal note I well remember in the 60's going round
my then SNP Branch members every Friday night selling Alba Pools and the
Scots Independent (the weekly). The profits from both kept the Branch
going financially - Jumble Sales were a bonus! Angus McGillveray
well knew the need for a sound financial base if the SNP was to make
political progress - Alba Pools provided that base.
Angus joined the Party in 1952, at the age
of 21, and was to devote his whole life to the Cause of Scottish
Independence. Scottish Culture lay at the heart of his Nationalism - song,
music, dance and literature. He was himself a gifted artist and through
his great interest in piping became a friend of the late Seumas MacNeill.
Angus, ably supported by his wife Jean, ran
the Publications Stall at every SNP Annual National Conference and all
meetings of the Party's National Council. His stall was the essential
first stop for many Delegates. He believed in service and the last time I
met him, he was still manning the stall in spite of being retired!
He died in the house in which he was born -
Durmaglass (in honour of his McGillveray forebears). His loss was mourned
by all who knew him as the overflow at his funeral in Falkirk Crematorium
His love and knowledge of Scottish song was
reflected in the editions of 'The Rebel Ceilidh Song Books' and the very
least we can do in memory of Angus McGillveray is to keep his work
As William C Wolfe wrote "Angus
McGillveray's life work is unfinished. It lives on, inspired by his
example, and his love and spirit also endure, in the hearts and minds of
al who know him". How true - we hope that our small tribute will both
remember Angus McGillveray's contribution to the National Cause and help
speed the day when his dream of Scottish Independence is achieved. As that
great opponent of the incorporating Union of 1707, Andrew Fletcher of
Saltoun, wrote "Let who will make the laws of a nation so long as I
am permitted to make her songs". It is no coincidence that the
rise of the SNP from the 60's onwards marched hand in hand with the
Scottish Folk Song Revival. Angus McGillveray fully played his part in
that forward march.
The day when the Saltire flies over a free
Scotland will be the finest tribute to all those, who like Angus, devoted
their lives to that ideal. Meanwhile we reprint, as a setting for the
songs, Angus McGillveray's preface to his 1994 edition of 'The Rebels
Ceilidh Song Book'.
Peter D Wright