You can tell by the online comments posted by exhibitors as they leave their entry fees just how much they’ve relished the opportunity to take part in 2020’s only show in town.
All the entry money – which currently stands at more than £2,300 – is being donated to the Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET) to back their work in teaching children about farming and rural life, and on the JustGiving page almost 300 people have already pledged their support.
Exhibitors from Northern Ireland to Cornwall, the Isle of Iona and across most of Scotland have entered the competitions.
Some are familiar with showing at local events or the Royal Highland Show while others are using the opportunity to showcase their stock for the first time.
Comments include those from Amanda Slater, a regular at the Royal Highland Show, who has entered a bird in the poultry section, who describes the show as a “fantastic” opportunity.
Gareth and Lauren comment: “Well done for organising this event in these strange times!”
Nicola Robertson thanks us for running an online show and “giving those of us who aren’t too familiar with the show world an opportunity to give it a go”.
And Kelly Stirling says the show has “kept our showing spirits alive. Well done!”
The online support is encouraging for the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS), organisers of the Royal Highland Show, who said they were “thrilled” to be partnering with The Press and Journal and The Courier on the virtual event.
The directors said: “Thank you to DC Thomson for giving all of us the opportunity to get involved in a different way this year, and to channel our passion.”
However, RHASS pointed out that the pandemic has not just meant the cancellation of their flagship show but the postponement of many events which were due to take place at the Royal Highland Centre at Ingliston.
“As a result, the society faces a gap in 2020 income of some £6.5 million,” the society said.
“We would like to thank all our members, trade exhibitors, sponsors and others who have shown us such amazing support at this time.
“Nevertheless, the financial impact of this will be significant for some time to come and the society is doing everything in its power to mitigate this.”
RHASS has undertaken only limited fundraising during its 235-year history, but in the wake of the pandemic it says it has had to reflect on this position as it manages the uncertainties around resuming its events business, and is now planning to develop fundraising activities.
The society said: “Directors recognise that the organisation will have to develop new, long-term, sustainable income streams in order to survive, and to continue to protect and promote Scotland’s agricultural sector and rural communities.
“As the charity’s trustees, directors accept that voluntary financial support will have a much greater role in maintaining and furthering the society’s charitable work in the future.”
The widespread support for our online show has proved that Scottish farmers’ appetites for competition and exhibiting remain strong no matter the circumstances.
It seems likely RHASS appeals for financial backing in the coming months and years will meet an equally positive response.
Full details of the show can be found here.