Ayr Writers’ Club Trophy History by Sheila Grant

Compiled by Sheila Grant
Thanks to Marion Montgomery, Catherine Lang and Ann Burnett for background information.
Jenny Cadas Trophy
Jenny Cadas was a doctor’s widow who returned to Ayr and was possibly a founder member of the Club. Her short stories were regularly featured in the Competitions Journal, but her main interest was in poetry.
She was the moving spirit behind Octopus, the Club’s first poetry performing group. She organised shows at the Edinburgh Fringe, at Strathaven and nearer home at Alloway Kirk. She also produced the Club’s first anthology, Octopus (1971).
Marion Montgomery, Jenny Cadas and six others each put in £32.00 which they got back when sales of Octopus met the publication costs.
At one time, there was an anti-poetry faction in the Club, resulting in the absence of a poetry competition one year. Jenny therefore left £400.00 to the Club, the interest to fund a prize to be spent on poetry books. Marion Montgomery won it in the first year and received £40.00. Later, George Wade arranged the Burns Shield for poetry.

Archie Quigley Green Apple Novice Trophy
Archie Quigley was a retired Navy officer and President of the Club 1983-4. He was in charge of a seminar during the year which included competitions open to other Clubs attending. Cliff Hanley judged the article.
Archie Quigley died suddenly, one week after the 1985 Club Dinner and the Jacksons decided to name the Green Apple Novice Trophy (which they donated) after him, as the idea had been mooted during his presidency.

Ishbel Robertson was a founder member of the Club and the first treasurer. She is remembered as a clever lady with a bubbly personality and a great sense of humour. She wrote articles. She had a starring role as Sydney Todd’s assistant when he performed magic tricks at a Club Christmas Party.
When Ishbel died (of a brain tumour), her husband gave the Club a very pretty Capo di Monte hanging plaque to be awarded to the member who did best in Club competitions. When it was worn and faded, it was replaced by a china posy which is now awarded for the most accumulated points in the AWC competitions.

Scotland’s Artists’ Trophy

The AWC Children’s Fiction competition was at one time, sponsored by the ‘Ayrshire Post’ and ceased at the end of AWC Season 2008 – 2009. For the following season, John Atchison (husband of AWC member Fiona Atchison) offered to become the replacement trophy sponsor under his website business ‘Splitting Images’. In AWC Season 2013 – 2014 John changed his business to ‘Scotland’s Artists’ requiring the trophy for Children’s Fiction to be (yet again) re-named. Visit scotlandsartists.com

Bioforce / A.Vogel Trophy
In 2006 it was decided to redesign and update the AWC website. An approach was made to Irvine-based herbal medicine company Bioforce / A.Vogel who were very much involved in supporting local organisations. Their donation of £300.00 funded the creation of the new site, and the following year they made a three year commitment to sponsor an annual award, initially the Scottish Article. Since 2010 the company has continued its annual support, now sponsoring the Book Review Trophy.
In 2011 and 2012, the A. Vogel also sponsored a national short story competition with former AWC President acting as one of the judges. Catherine Lang
JR & CH Mair Quaich
Following the death of her elderly parents within a few months of each other, former President Catherine Lang donated the JR & CH Mair Quaich, a fitting memorial to the people who had encouraged her love of books and writing from the very beginning. As the names of winners could not easily be engraved on to the Quaich itself, Catherine had created a small oak plinth from her father’s extensive collection of wood (he was a DIY enthusiast) to display shields with each winner’s name. The award was first presented for the Scottish Article in 2010 and is supported by a small bequest to fund the annual prize.

Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce & Industry Trophy
In 2007 the Ayrshire Film Information Service (AFIS) which had funded an annual drama award for a number of years, came to an end. As the AFIS had been co-located within the Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ACCI) offices at Prestwick Airport, an approach was made to the then ACCI Chief Executive, Bob Leitch, who kindly agreed to the Chamber taking over the sponsorship, which continues to this day. Catherine Lang

The Dorrith Sim Trophy is presented to the Ayr Writers’ Club Published Writer of the Year. See Ayr Writers’ Club website Blog Section for further details about the background to this trophy.
The Leigh Trophy (new in 2014-15) is awarded for Flash Fiction.

The Elsie Miller Trophy is currently awarded for Non-Fiction. We need more information about this trophy’s history.

The Ellie Hamilton Trophy is awarded for the General Short Story competition. Does anyone know the background story?


  1. ann burnett

    Elsie Miller founded the club in 1970 and was its first president. The trophy commemorates this.

    Ellie Hamilton’s children, Stephen and Rona, presented the trophy to the club in memory of their mother.

  2. Carolyn O'Hara

    How interesting! Thanks to all for revealing the real people behind these familiar names. Aren’t we all part of a wonderful Ayr tradition!

  3. Sheila Grant

    We sure are Carolyn. It is such a good club ticking all the boxes for advice , help, inspiration, encouragement, friendship with the added ingredient of fun and …..yes ….successes.

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