Highland games to go ahead next year

MONTROSE Highland Games will go ahead next year after two year’s in abeyance, committee chairwoman Robina Addison has said.

The games, which should have taken place in August, were cancelled for the second consecutive year amid fears that the summer’s continuing bad weather could ruin the event financially.

Mrs Addison said the decision to go ahead with the event, which has been a popular annual fixture in the town’s calendar for more than 30 years, was taken after a committee meeting at the end of last week. But she emphasised that local support is needed to ensure the games, which will go ahead on the first weekend of August, survive and thrive.

When the games were cancelled Mrs Addison said the decision had been taken reluctantly but it would have been “too much of a gamble” to continue and possibly have to cancel at the last minute.

The plug was also pulled on last year’s event at the 11th hour when torrential overnight rain meant the East Links games field was waterlogged and it became obvious that spectators were unlikely to turn out. The committee suffered a financial loss as a result.

Routinely attracting more than 5,000 people, the games rely on admission money to help finance the following year’s event and Mrs Addison said the committee could not risk the same thing happening again.

She said: “We have a couple of fund-raisers this year to help us, a coffee morning in December and a Hogmanay ceilidh in the town hall and if local people could support us, and as members of the committee, it would help us on our way.”

Mrs Addison added that a meeting has also taken place between committee members and representatives of Angus Council’s event management team and economic development unit to discuss the games’ future.

She said: “It was a very positive meeting and while there could be grant funding available but we want to raise funds ourselves and for local people to be involved. An application could be submitted, it’s not nearly as easy to get sponsorship these days as it used to be, as everyone’s looking for support.

“Both the games committee and the Scottish Highland Games Committee are keen for it go ahead. It’s good that we’re not letting it slip after such a long time, as it’s regarded as the flagship event for Angus.”

The coffee morning will be held in the Old and St Andrew’s Church hall on Saturday, December 15 and tickets for the Hogmanay ceilidh are available now from the Print Shop, 149 High Street, Montrose.