Almost a year to the day since its tour in Melbourne and Wellington, The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo - one of the world’s best known military spectaculars - has announced it will donate just over $770,000 AUD approx. (£477,000 GBP) to veterans’ charities and the piping, drumming and Highland Dance organisations in Australasia. The donation is one of the largest ever contributed by the Tattoo, which is based in Edinburgh, Scotland.
This significant donation follows the Tattoo’s hugely successful runs in the Etihad and Westpac Stadiums in February last year. Not only did the Show play to combined audiences of 240,000 over nine performances but the events generated an estimated $100 million AUD approx. (£62 million GBP) for the cities of Melbourne and Wellington combined. The Tattoo was also involved in supporting the re-establishment the Australian Defence Force Pipe and Drums, reformed for the Melbourne Tattoo.
From the start of the project four years ago, it was planned to leave a legacy from the tour and the Tattoo will now deliver $44,000 AUD approx. (£27,000 GBP) to a variety of piping, drumming and Highland Dance groups in Australia and New Zealand, many of whom were involved in the 2016 showcase. A substantial $729,000 AUD approx. (£450,000 GBP) donation will go towards supporting charitable projects working with veterans and personnel in the Armed Services, including four Australian-based beneficiaries: Keeping Watch, Army Amenities Fund, Royal Australian Air Force Welfare Trust Fund, and Everyman’s Welfare Service.
Since it was established in 1950 the Tattoo has donated over $16million AUD approx. (£10million GBP) to charities across the world. Last year’s donation of $1.6million AUD approx. (£1million GBP) to charities in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand represents the largest sum ever contributed in the Tattoo’s 66-year history.
Brigadier David Allfrey, Chief Executive and Producer of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, said: Audiences in Australia and New Zealand have always supported the Show in Edinburgh, both attending the live show and watching the television broadcasts each year. Over the decades, so many pipers, drummers, dancers and military musicians have showcased their talent at Edinburgh, working so hard for us and representing their countries with such style and expertise. The Tattoos is Melbourne and Wellington were landmark for so many of us and we were determined to leave a legacy to support the Armed Forces, the Veterans communities and those organisations that have contributed so much to our success and reputation.
“Being able to contribute to the welfare of the men and women of our Armed Forces, and those of our friends and allies, is particularly important to us and the annual award of donations creates a real buzz amongst our Trustees and across the staff. We are proud and privileged to be able to share the success of the Australasian Tattoos. We hope the investment will help support young and old.”
“The Tattoo aims to entertain and inspire its audiences, not only through colour, music and pageantry, but also in celebrating our extraordinary cultures, values and standards. Over the years 49 countries have taken part in the Show, each bringing their own special ingredients and sharing them across the audience and the cast. We feel this ‘celebration of our glorious differences’ is an important contribution in a World which does not always get along. Above all too, the Tattoo is a charity and we work hard to generate a surplus each year which can then be distributed to charities serving the Armed Services and the Arts.
Vice Admiral Ray Griggs AO CSC RAN, the Vice Chief of the Australian Defence Force said: “The Tattoo was a truly unique celebration of military heritage and it was an honour for the ADF to be a part of it this year. Importantly, it is not only the servicemen and women who directly participated in the Tattoo who are benefiting from the event. Organisations supporting Defence personnel and their families will be boosted by the Tattoo’s generous decision to donate proceeds from the performances and we are very grateful for that.”
One of the charities, Everyman’s Welfare Service, is set to purchase a new vehicle for the Australian troops with the funding. The Brew Truck, a 4WD vehicle with a special back allowing it hold a variety of essentials such as cold drinks, tea and coffee, biscuits and cakes, toothpaste and toothbrushes and first-aid kits for troops on the field.
Ken Matthews from the Everyman's Welfare Service, added: “As a charitable organisation, we rely consistently upon the contributions of others and we are enormously grateful to the Tattoo for its very generous donation. The money will go towards the purchase of a new Brew Truck for our forces at home on training and overseas. The Truck has been a staple of the Australian Defence Force since World War I, offering a vital source of refreshments and much-needed goods for our soldiers who always look forward to a ‘visit from the Everyman’. To pay back our thanks we’re hoping to re-name our latest purchase after The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, which will bring a smile to many for years to come.”