AN RSABI 'supporters’ event' for 200 farmers, agricultural businesses and their guests was held at Piperdam Resort, Dundee last week.

Farmer and rural television presenter Adam Henson rallied support for the charity with an impassioned plea to back its growing Supporter Scheme, which is designed to provide regular income support for rural people struggling to cope.

Mr Henson, who with his business partner had been hit hard by the foot-and-mouth outbreak in 2001, spoke of the need for organisations such as RSABI: “Our farm park had to close for a whole summer without compensation and we were sitting on a rented farm which included our houses, with next to no income and the bills pouring in.

"If it hadn’t been for help from neighbours as well as charitable support, we wouldn’t have come through it. It shows how something unexpected can come along and knock everything off course,” he said.

With over 450 individuals, farms, businesses and corporate organisations across Scotland already showing their support for RSABI, Mr Henson was joined by Perthshire farmer/comedian Jim Smith who compered with great humour, to make the case for signing up to the Scheme. With backing from major sponsor Bank of Scotland and existing RSABI corporate supporters Johnston Carmichael and Savills on the night, 27 new businesses, including many farm businesses, and over 20 individuals followed the plea for funds by signing up as 'Supporters' at the dinner. A fantastic figure in excess of £14,500 was raised overall, including an entertaining auction by Graham Burke of business supporter Pentland Livestock.

Bank of Scotland area director, Sandy Hay said: “The role of RSABI has arguably never been more important as the industry works together to create a sustainable future in the face of continuing uncertainty, as well as challenging market and weather conditions. As a long term corporate supporter of RSABI, we are once again delighted to work with Adam Henson and the team at RSABI to make the case for providing regular funds to help people in Scottish agriculture.”

Margo Wills, regional development officer who co-ordinated the event for RSABI, was delighted by the outcome, commenting: “Last year alone over 730 people received assistance at a cost to RSABI of £475,000 in direct financial assistance, so our Supporter Scheme has never been more important to us. Anyone wishing to become a supporter during our current Winter Appeal should do so now by visiting or by calling 0300 111 4166.