Friday, 23rd January 2009
Ayrshire fiddle orchestra receive a standing ovation in Brussels
Last night, five young performers from the Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra received a standing ovation from a large gathering of MEPs and other guests in Brussels.
The five-strong group were invited to perform at a Burns Supper in aid of Mercy Corps, the international aid and development charity, by Scots Tory MEP and Ayrshireman, Struan Stevenson.
The annual European Parliament Burns Supper was attended by 87 people including Mike Russell, Scottish Minister for the Environment who gave the Immortal Memory. Douglas Fraser, Business and Economy Editor for the BBC gave the Toast to the Lassies, which was replied to by Irish Euro-MP, Mairead McGuinness.
The highlight of the evening was a charity auction which raised a staggering €1200 for Mercy Corps.
The Royal Mail, the event’s sponsor, kindly donated an extraordinary limited edition uncut press sheet of 21 newly minted collections of Robert Burns stamps. This collector's piece from a limited edition of 2009 was unique in that it was marked with the number 1759, the birth date of Robert Burns. After lots of intense bidding, it fetched £500.
The auction included a bottle of Lochnagar whisky, which was quickly snapped up at £130 and a bottle of Mortlach whisky, which went for £140. A bottle of Parliamentary Speyside Malt whisky was also quickly taken at £85.
The big shock of the evening was the furious bidding was over a carton of 2 dozen Tunnocks Caramel Wafers, with dozens of ex-pats desperate to buy the Scottish delicacy which is unknown in Brussels. The box of biscuits eventually sold for an amazing £75! Two Ipod Touch vouchers donated by Scottish and Southern Energy also fetched £200 each.
Speaking after the Burns Supper, Struan Stevenson, MEP for Scotland, said:
“From the food and the whisky to the guest speakers and entertainment, it was a truly Scottish celebration. The young performers from the Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra played beautifully, reminding us all of the fantastic talent we have in Scotland.
“The charity auction too exceeded our expectations. We were delighted to have supported and raised such a great sum for Mercy Corps.”
The food was all sourced from Scotland and the whisky, donated by Diageo.