“Despite the sense of optimism around the UK’s emergence from the Pandemic and our huge enthusiasm to stage a performance this year, it is now clear that the financial risks we confront in delivering The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, at scale, on the Castle Esplanade in August are simply too great. Consequently, it is with enormous regret and disappointment that we announce the cancellation of the 2021 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.”
This was the message from The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo’s Chief Executive, Buster Howes, as the world-famous event was unfortunately cancelled for the second year running. For decades the Tattoo has been a key fixture in the military calendar, until halted in 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be sorely missed once again this year by its legion of fans, who come from around the world to enjoy the showcase in Edinburgh Castle.
The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) have been generously supported by the Tattoo’s charitable wing since 2012. Incredibly, this has remained unwavering throughout the pandemic and last year the RNRMC were awarded £71,000 by The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo (Charities), despite the event being cancelled.
Enduring support, such as that provided by the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo (Charities) Limited, meant that there was no disruption to the RNRMC’s grants programmes, distributing £7 million over the course of last year. At the outset of the pandemic last March, RNRMC Trustees approved the creation of a Hardship Grant to support those beneficiaries of the Charity adversely affected by the crisis whose needs could not otherwise be met by emergency funds or measures put in place by local and central government, or by other charities. To date, some 190 separate grants totaling in excess of £600,000 have been paid out through the Hardship Fund providing a genuine lifeline for some and making life more bearable for those contending with lockdown with a serving partner deployed on operations.
As a result of these grants computer equipment was provided to enable the children from low-income beneficiary families to participate in virtual home-learning; thermal imaging equipment has been purchased and installed to help keep veteran care homes safe whilst enabling precious visits by loved ones; the purchase of small electrical items enabled Royal Navy veterans in sheltered housing to prepare meals in their own rooms whilst communal kitchens remain off-limits; passing out parades have been livestreamed to proud family members unable to attend in person; and the RNRMC’s contribution to the costs of Covid-related funerals has helped to give affected Royal Navy families the time and space to grieve properly and to come to terms with the terrible and tragic impact of the disease.
Without the generous and continued support of organisations such as the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, the RNRMC’s ability to help to the Royal Navy community would certainly be reduced. The RNRMC would like to take the opportunity to thank the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and look forward to the show’s triumphant return this time next year.