Royal Highland Show awarded £750,000 to run online event

The organisers of the Royal Highland Show have confirmed a virtual event will go ahead this summer following £750,000 of funding from the Scottish government.

The show’s future was in serious doubt due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the funding will help run the show from the Ingliston showground, near Edinburgh, in the week beginning 14 June.

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Livestock judging, showjumping and other competitions will be streamed online to the audience.

Bill Gray, chairman of the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland, said the government backing underlined the importance of the show and would help protect its long-term sustainability.

“This showcase will enable us to shine a light on our farmers and rural communities, who have been steadfast throughout this pandemic, and allow us the opportunity to promote rural Scotland to a wider audience,” said Mr Gray.

Rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing welcomed the online event and said it was key people continue to follow the rules to fight coronavirus.

“The Royal Highland Show is an important annual event in the farming and rural calendar. While it’s a shame that we cannot meet in the usual way, I am looking forward to being able to recognise the hard work of the entrants and celebrate their achievements at the showcase,” Mr Ewing said.

Scotland Food and Drink, Quality Meat Scotland, the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs and the Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution (Rsabi) are among the farm groups supporting the show.

Nina Clancy, Rsabi chief executive, said: “It has been an incredibly difficult time and we all desperately need something to look forward to. Celebrating the best of farming and rural Scotland the week of 14 June will be a huge boost to morale.”