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A Century of Tradition

William Vogt


If asked to describe briefly the most outstanding and memorable characteristic of our twenty-seventh President, one could not do better than refer to his "dynamic enthusiasm". Bill infected everyone with this and especially so his Committee with the result that it can be said that the year 1957 was probably the most successful of any for the Society during its first half century. It was estimated that the total attendance at our functions that year amounted to some 2.000 persons and not only was the year notable for the numbers attending these but also for the number of events organised. Six “get-together” evenings were planned for, and these proved so popular that a seventh had to be fitted in. Attendance was in neighbourhood of 650, including large and enthusiastic contingents of young Scots on holiday from schools in the UK. Good programming was probably the secret of their success with balanced entertainment of a varied sort being provided. Then the Scottish Dancing classes, led by Bill Cadger, attracted many enthusiasts, seventeen classes in all being held between April and September. Over and above all this, the Society, after many years of having to borrow and transport heavy, expensive and delicate record players, loud speakers and the rest for its functions, at last acquired its own sound equipment which was kept in a specially rented locker at SPAC where most of our affairs took place. This was paid for by the proceeds of the charge made on those participating in the dancing classes, from individual donations and from the sale of tickets at a raffle held at one of the get-togethers, the prizes being bottles of whisky generously donated by our twelfth President “Dave” Burnett. A weekly special column of our colony hews entitled "Scotch Corner” appeared in the "Times of Brazil" , a most successful Burns Supper was held on the appropriate date, attended by members and their families and, as a special novelty, it is recalled that the presence of a number of young Scottish and English Lassies from the cast of “Holiday on Ice" livened up our Ladies Night when they came along after their show in response to our President’s invitation. Before taking over the Presidency, Bill had served as Treasurer in 1954 and Vice-President in 1956. He also did the customary stint as an ex-oficio Committee member in 1958. Bill was a Glasgow man to the core. Born in what he and other of his fellow townsmen were once proud to call "The Second City of the Empire" he was in every sense one of its worthy sons. He had a varied and interesting life before coming to Brazil. Born in 1898 and descended from a Black Forest watchmaker who, with his brother, settled in the West of Scotland in the early nineteenth century, he began work with a firm of Clyde shipbuilders while, as was the custom of ambitious lads, going to night classes at Bellahouston Academy. Later he went into partnership with his stepfather in the ship rigging business and when things were bad on Glasgow's river in the 20’s, he decided to make for the USA. There he found jobs, studied accountancy and finally made up his mind to go in for Public Utilities. In pursuit of this objective he got engaged by the Electric Bond and Share (the company which gave its name to São Paulo's trains the "bondes”) and within a week of being taken on, he was aboard a ship bound for Rio. Then began long years of hard work up and down the coast from Natal to Porto Alegre and lastly to Campinas before settling finally in Sao Paulo in 1941 where he became Chief Accountant for the 22 companies of the Cia Paulista de Força e Luz. His wife Lottie and the family had joined him earlier when he was in Vitória and after the move to Sao Paulo, they remained here until their retiral to Scotland and a house on a hill above Ayr in 1969. Regrettably Bill died in 1972 and his wife now lives in the South and spends most of her time keeping in touch with her scattered family and 11 grandchildren. One son Willy is a member of the Society and was on the 1966 and one of their sons-in-law, Martin Handy is also a member.

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