Scottish charity set to host ‘world’s biggest virtual Burns supper’

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A specialist Scottish charity which has held an annual Burns event for the past 30 years is set to host the world’s biggest virtual Burns supper.

Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Scotland (SBH Scotland), which typically welcomes up to 800 people to its annual ‘A Question of Burns’ event in Glasgow, raising more than £1 million as a result, is set to take the festivities online this month due to lockdown restrictions.

The digital event will be streamed globally and SBH Scotland hopes it will be the most watched Burns event in the world, with a host of famous faces joining the event.

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Although online, viewers can expect all the trimmings of a traditional Burns evening.

The Address to a Haggis will feature alongside the main tribute to Burns, the Immortal Memory, recited by comedian Bruce Fummey.

Funny-man, and host of the event, Fred MacAulay, delivers the Toast to the Lassies as Janey Godley, who became a social media sensation after creating parody videos of Nicola Sturgeon during lockdown, will then give the reply.

Travis front-man Fran Healy will perform Auld Lang’s Syne, while Scotland’s foremost Robert Burns re-enactor, Chris Tait, will recite Tam o’Shanter.

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The virtual event is free to attend, with donations encouraged through the silent auction and raffle.

Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Scotland will host its annual “A Question of Burns” supper which usually attracts up to 800 guests online this yearSpina Bifida Hydrocephalus Scotland will host its annual “A Question of Burns” supper which usually attracts up to 800 guests online this year
Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Scotland will host its annual “A Question of Burns” supper which usually attracts up to 800 guests online this year

Deborah Roe, fundraising director at SBH Scotland, said: “Although we are disappointed not to be celebrating our 30th anniversary with a grand black-tie event, taking the festivities online allows us to greatly expand our reach. There are Scots living all around the world who, given the current global challenges, may too be unable to celebrate this iconic day with a traditional Burns feast.

“We are working with partners across the globe to bring our virtual experience to as many people as possible. The world’s largest ever ‘in person’ Burns supper had 900 guests, and we hope that through the power of digital technology we will reach many more.

“We have also received a significant amount of support already from Grant’s Haggis and Endura, as well as several other companies joining us as sponsors. It is only with their help that we are able to bring the excitement of Burns to people all around the world.”

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SBH Scotland has supported people and their families affected by spina bifida and hydrocephalus for more than 50 years. All proceeds raised on the evening will go towards supporting children, young people and adults affected by the lifelong conditions.

Deborah added: “2020 was a difficult year for everyone, but it was particularly challenging for those already in need. Our organisation, like many others in the third sector, has seen a significant drop in fundraising, and we are predicting an annual loss of nearly £500,000.

“We need support now more than ever and hope that this exciting new event will help raise vital funds for our charity.”

SBH Scotland’s 2021 Burns event will go live at 7pm on Monday 25 January 2021 on its YouTube channel and Facebook channel.

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The pre-recorded programme will also be available to view for one week.

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