As familiar a name to St Andrews as Patrick Hamilton, John Honey is immortalised in the form of a stained glass window in St Salvator’s Chapel, the prestigious John Honey Award, and the Gaudie. Held each year on the final evening of April, the Gaudie deviates from the standard Sunday morning Pier Walk: Participants will receive torches as they travel from Younger Hall to the pier, the sun setting on several hundred red gowns as a commemorative speech is given in Honey’s honour.
A notable character in the Kate Kennedy Procession, John Honey immortalised himself in the annals of St Andrews history when, in 1800, he plunged into the North Sea to save the drowning passengers of sinking ship the Janet of Macduff. Nineteen-year-old Honey made the journey from shore to sea and back again five separate times, allowing him to save each victim of the small vessel. The remainder of Honey’s life was plagued by ill health, and he died at the age of thirty-two.
The exemplification of action in the face of adversary, John Honey encapsulates the dauntless spirit that St Andrews seeks to cultivate amongst its student body. For this reason, his reputation is upheld by the Kate Kennedy Club, which seeks to preserve the traditions of the town and the gown. In addition to featuring Honey as a character in the annual Procession, the Club organises and hosts the Gaudie, as esteemed a tradition as the Silver Arrow Archery Competition or the Procession itself.
Although the Latin word “gaudy” translates to “merry-making”, the Gaudie derives its title from the song “Gaudeamus Igitur” (also called “De Brevitate Vitae”, or “On the Shortness of Life”). The bittersweet tune, sung by a choir on the evening of the Gaudie, encourages students to enjoy life as only students can, cherishing that Dionysian revelry while still in the throes of youth.
The Gaudie will begin this Saturday at 20:00, setting off from Younger Hall on North Street. Convenor Roland Walker encourages attendees to wear red gowns, attire befitting a Pier Walk. Marshalled by members of the Kate Kennedy Club, the procession lasts approximately an hour, during which a choir will sing, a piper will play, and a collection in support of the KKC’s charities will be taken. Whether or not in possession of a gown, all students are encouraged to join the procession for a reserved start to the night of May Dip.