The annual Kate Kennedy Procession took place this afternoon, Saturday 14 April, amidst mixed weather, including hail. Starting in St Salvator’s Quad at 2pm, the Procession worked its way around the town-centre, with a reception held in St Mary’s Quad on South Street, before meandering its way back to St Salvator’s.
After recent dissent and a split in the Club, it was thought until recently that the Kate Kennedy Fellowship (KKF) would assume responsibility for the Procession, which is the club’s most important annual event. However, the Kate Kennedy Club (KKC) subsequently decided to permit women to join. Consequently, the KKC retained the right to hold the Procession.
Speaking of the recent dispute between the KKC and KKF, the Marshal of the Procession, Edward Battle, said: “I do not feel any threat from the KKF. Every year we try to make our Procession better than the last and this year is no exception.” When asked to remark upon the KK Procession in light of the recent animosity between the two factions, the President of the Student Union, Patrick O’Hare, had no comment.
Before the Procession, Battle went on to explain the details: “There will be 111 individual characters. On top of this, however, there will be two pipe bands from St Andrews and from the cadet force here. They consist of around 60 people together, so…we are looking at 200 people taking part in the procession (excluding the people on the podium and those who will greet ‘Kate’. Also, due to our new relation with the university, we are having the bells rung when the procession leaves sallies and when it enters St Mary’s.”
There were many riders on horseback, and two daffodil-embellished horse-drawn carriages, one of which carried the character Bishop James Kennedy. ‘Kate’ this year was revealed to be Ted Haxby, who played the part well and looked visibly effeminate for the majority of the time. There were also three new characters in the procession this year, namely golfing heroes Tom Morris Junior, Allan Robertson and David Anderson.
Other characters included St Andrew himself, leading the Procession barefoot and solemnly carrying the cross of Martyrdom, the Scottish saltire. Following him was the bearer of the University Shield. Many more interesting characters came afterwards, including King Robert the Bruce, crowned King of Scots in 1306, Bishop Henry Wardlaw, who became the first Chancellor of the University in February, 1412, famous Rectors including Norwegian explorer and peace activist Fridtjof Nansen and John Cleese and famous students such as Elizabeth Garret Anderson, the first woman to matriculate at the University of St Andrews in 1862.
On the KKC website, the Club states: “The Kate Kennedy Procession is the main event of the Kate Kennedy Club and the one around which the Club was founded. Each year both Town and Gown assemble to form a crowd of hundreds on the streets of St. Andrews to celebrate the lives and contributions of some of the great men and women of the town and university.” The crowds this year, whilst plentiful, appeared to be fewer than last year’s, perhaps because of the changeable weather.
Battle summarised organising this year’s procession by stating: “Organising the Procession has been an incredibly enjoyable experience. It is one that does take time but it is hugely rewarding seeing everything slowly building to an amazing spectacle. It’s something that will only ever come once in anyone’s life and I do feel privileged to have been chosen to play ‘Kate’ last year and therefore organise it this year. Seeing the Club itself unite and push for the Procession is a great thing also. We hold the Procession at the heart of our Club and our activities so, again, it is an honour to be able to lead it.”