Our President in 1959/60 was:

Hesketh Pearson

He proposed the Toast to Sir Walter at our 52nd Annual Dinner on Friday 4th March 1960 in The North British Hotel, Edinburgh

Read the text of his address here

Edward Hesketh Gibbons Pearson (20 February 1887 – 9 April 1964) was a British actor, theatre director and writer. He is known mainly for his popular biographies; they made him the leading British biographer of his time, in terms of commercial success.

He was born in Hawford, Claines, Worcestershire, to a family with a large number of members in Holy Orders. His parents were Thomas Henry Gibbons Pearson, a farmer, and the former Amy Mary Constance Biggs. He was a great-great-great nephew of Francis Galton, whom he described in Modern Men and Mummers. After the family moved to Bedford in 1896, he was educated at Orkney House School for five years, a period he later described as the only unhappy episode in his life, for the compulsive flogging beloved of its headmaster. At 14, he was sent to Bedford School, where he proved an indifferent student. Rebelling against his father's desire for him study Classics to prepare himself for a career in Holy Orders, on graduation, he entered commerce but happily accepted his dismissal as a troublemaker when he inherited £1,000 from a deceased aunt. He employed the funds to travel widely, and on his return joined his brother's car business.

Conservative by temperament, he was a passionate reader of Shakespeare's plays and a frequent theatre-goer. When his brother's business faced bankruptcy, he applied for a job with Herbert Beerbohm Tree and began acting with that theatrical entrepreneur's company in 1911. A year later, he married Gladys Gardner, one of the company's actresses.

At the outbreak of the First World War, Pearson enlisted immediately in the British Army but was soon invalided out when it was discovered that he suffered from tuberculosis. He volunteered for the Army Service Corps and was sent to Mesopotamia, whose climate was conducive to treatment for tuberculosis. He recovered from that malady there but contracted several other diseases, septic sores, dysentery and malaria and was close to death on three occasions. He attributed his survival to his practice of reciting long passages of Shakespeare while he was critically ill. He distinguished himself under fire and, on one occasion, received a severe head wound from shrapnel. He was subsequently awarded the Military Cross.

After the war, Pearson returned to the stage and, in 1921, met Hugh Kingsmill, an encounter that, thanks to Kingsmill's charismatic friendship and influence, changed his life.

In 1926 the anonymously-published Whispering Gallery, purporting to be diary pages from leading political figures, caused him to be prosecuted for attempted fraud. He won the case.

Text sourceWikipedia