Following the success of three events in 2016, The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo announces its largest charitable donation to date. This year, the Tattoo will donate £1M to charitable causes in the United Kingdom, in Australia and in New Zealand.
This figure represents double the donations made in 2015 and brings the total distributed by the Charity, since it was established in 1950, to more than £9M. This year’s grants together represent the largest sum ever donated in the Tattoo’s 66-year history.
The Tattoo will contribute £500,000 to eleven UK-based Services and Arts beneficiaries, including: ABF - The Soldiers’ Charity, The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, The RAF Benevolent Fund, The Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League, Combat Stress, Seafarers UK and the Venture Trust. An additional £500,000 will go to seven charitable causes in Australia and New Zealand.
The donations will assist a broad scale of organisations, supporting veterans and personnel across the Armed Services. A number of Arts organisations including the Edinburgh International Festival and the Lyceum Theatre have also benefitted from Tattoo donations. The partnership with the New Zealand Festival to stage the Tattoo in the Westpac Stadium in Wellington has delivered further charitable benefit and sustainment of the arts in New Zealand.
The news comes after the eighteenth consecutive annual sell-out run on Edinburgh Castle’s iconic esplanade, and two successful tours in Wellington, New Zealand and Melbourne, Australia in February of this year. In total, the three spectacles, which took place over 34 days combined, generated a staggering 460,000 ticket sales with visitors from more than 90 countries. Economic impact of the three shows is projected to have been more than £127M (£77M in the UK and a combined £50M gross economic impact to the cities of Melbourne and Wellington).
In 1947, the military contributions to the Edinburgh Festival cost just £637, with £407 given to charity at the close, while this year, The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo Group has seen a 36% increase in annual turnover, a substantial increase since turning over £10M for the first time in 2014.
Brigadier David Allfrey, Chief Executive and Producer of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, said: “We are delighted that our international audience continue to enjoy the Show both at home in Edinburgh and abroad. We strive each year to remain properly authentic - true to the values and standards of our individual and collective heritage and culture - while also looking to innovate in the production and in how we operate as a business and as a charity. Although we have made sizeable and sustained charitable donations over many years, most people do not appreciate this important part of our business; it is one of our principal ‘reasons for being’. The aim each year is to deliver the best Tattoo that we can and, if we can make a surplus, it is a huge privilege to be able to support those serving and retired of the Armed Forces and the Arts.
Being able to contribute to the welfare of the men and women of our Armed Forces is incredibly important to us. The annual award of donations creates a real buzz amongst our Trustees and across the staff. This year has been particularly rewarding as we have also been able to make grants in Australia and New Zealand."
Lord Thurso, VisitScotland Chairman, added: “We are incredibly lucky to have The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Scotland; every year it impresses us by bringing together people from all over the world, giving them the opportunity to showcase their talents and traditions on one of Scotland’s best loved stages. It’s a great feat for the Tattoo to now show its gratitude by offering some truly worthwhile charities this return and I am certain each individual who benefits will be extremely thankful.”
Sue Freeth, Chief Executive of Combat Stress, said: “The Tattoo has been a generous supporter since 2000, donating more than £90,000 to support the vital work we deliver to veterans with mental health conditions including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. During their treatment, these veterans have access to teams of clinical professionals, including psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists and given the tools they need to recover and go on to lead fulfilled lives. We’re enormously grateful.”