The 2021 Royal Highland Show (RHS) may only proceed with external financial support, as directors warn the Covid-19 pandemic has slashed the society’s income by a staggering £6 million.

The fundraising campaign for the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) is the first of its kind in the society’s history.

‘Save Your Show’

The ‘Save Your Show’ appeal sets out RHASS’ ambition to fulfil its charitable remit, which includes the RHS.

The cancellation of the 2020 show brought home the stark reality of the impact of the pandemic on the much-loved event, with the industry coming together to reflect on the ‘no show week’.

While there is a clear determination among RHASS directors to deliver the 2021 show, the society is also intent on ensuring it is in a strong financial position to mark the 200th anniversary show and the Golden Shears World Shearing Championship in June 2022.

Through the Save Your Show campaign, the society is calling for individual and corporate donations to allow it to plan ahead as far as 2022, confident that funding is in place.

RHASS chairman Bill Gray said: “Since the first show in 1822, the RHS has grown into an event that delivers significant benefits for the sector, both financially and personally.

As directors, we feel a huge sense of responsibility to keep the show going, but we need financial support to secure the charity’s future and to ensure that the Royal Highland Show continues for many years to come.

The campaign will be headed by RHASS’ fundraising and partnership manager, Joanne Andrews, and is set to launch in the RHASS members’ magazine this week.

It will be supported by a direct mail campaign and direct outreach to industry stakeholders.

Chief executive Alan Laidlaw commented: “We are actively pursuing revenue-generating activities alongside support offered by the Scottish and UK Governments.

“However, the reality is stark and we need to be realistic as to what we can achieve without external financial support from our members and the wider industry.”

As a charity, we have a duty to maximise the impact of our activities in rural Scotland, giving those who we know care deeply about the show and our work, the opportunity to support the organisation, when we need help.

“We are proud of what we achieve and need the whole industry to get behind the campaign to make sure we succeed.”