Cupar Highland Games under threat

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BUSINESSES across north east Fife are being urged to help ensure this year’s Cupar Highland Games go ahead.

The event, due to take place in Duffus Park on July 3, is under threat due to bad weather over the last few years and the knock-on effect on visitor numbers.

Sponsorship from local businesses and organisations has also decreased slightly and organisers fear the event could be in jeopardy.

Highland Games chairman Alan Hendry told the Fife Herald the committee was hoping to hear soon about a Fife Council grant that would provide enough funding to stage the games.

“If we get the amount we have applied for then we should be able to go ahead with the event,” he said.

“But we are really hoping that local businesses and organisations come forard and give us some financial support to ensure we don’t have to cancel.

“If we do have to cancel, then it would be just for this year.”

Mr Hendry went on: “At the moment most of our revenue comes from advertising and sponsorship of events.

“A small amount comes from grants and the rest from the entrance fees on the day, but we have now realised that we are going to have to look at fund-raising throughout the year if we are to continue holding the games.”

Mr Hendry said the committee had already decided to scale back some of the events including the pipe band competition and the road race in a bid to limit the amount of prize-money being given out.

However, the event has to abide by a standard for prize money which applies to all Highland Games events and therefore can’t cut back too much.

“If we did,” said Mr Hendry, “the competitors just wouldn’t take part.”

“The biggest problem we have had has been the weather, and there’s not much we can do about that apart from hope for sunshine.

“The last two years have seen horrendous weather and we have had to move activities like the highland dancing inside to Elmwood College which has not only meant increased cost but also splits the event between two venues, which isn’t ideal.”

Mr Hendry said the committee was extremely grateful to local people, businesses and groups like Cupar Rotary Club and Cupar Round Table for all their support, but feared some businesses may be holding back in case the event doesn’t go ahead.

“We would welcome all the financial — or even practical — support available. If the games don’t go ahead anyone who has given us money will get it back.”

Cupar Highland Games was re-introduced to the town around 30 years ago by Mr Hendry’s father, John, and David Lang, and has been a firm fixture on Cupar’s summer calendar since then.

Last year Cupar Round Table broke the Guinness World Record with 690-litre ‘bowl’ of porridge they cooked up on games day with the help of Scott’s Porage Oats.

Anyone who may be able to offer help should contact committee secretary Rosemary Middleton, tel. 01334 476413 or RosemaryJMid1506@aol.com