AFTER A challenging 12 months, the Border Union Agricultural Society is ready to re-open for business.

The Kelso-based society, formed in 1813, would typically hold four major events a year – the Border Union Agricultural Show; the Championship Dog Show qualifier for Crufts; the BUAS’ annual Kelso Ram Sales; and the Borders Countryside Education day for all primary fives in the Scottish Borders – but thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, 2020 saw them all cancelled.

The society’s income was also hit by the cancellation of weddings, events and seminars that were frequently held in its main hall and on the Kelso showground. However, the BUAS received support from Bank of Scotland in the form of a £210k Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme loan, funding which has helped the business to pay ongoing costs not covered by government support schemes and cancellation costs for events.

Now, the Kelso showground has become the site of an NHS vaccination clinic to support vaccination efforts in the Borders, and is hoping to hold some of its normal events this year.

BUAS administrator Verity Mutch said: “After the first lockdown last March we saw all of our main events and hall hires for the year cancelled. This was extremely difficult for the society as we missed out on our main sources of revenue for the entire year.

“Thankfully Bank of Scotland have been very supportive. We’ve been working with them since 1964 and knew they’d be on hand to help us through this difficult time.

“Over the coming months we are hoping to hold some of our events again – albeit in a scaled back capacity," said Ms Mutch. "While we took the difficult decision to cancel our agricultural show in January, we hope to hold our ram sales again in September and potentially our dog show in October.”

Relationship manager at Bank of Scotland, Julie McLaren, said: “Despite the cancellation of its major annual events, BUAS has worked hard to keep operations running and is now in a position to welcome both members and visitors back once restrictions allow.

“At Bank of Scotland, we’ve supported the business through this challenging period and look forward to seeing the events back on our calendar as soon as possible. As with BUAS, we will remain by the side of business in Scotland as we support firms through the remaining months of the pandemic.”