On 24 January 2020, 926 people helped Scotmid Co-operative enter the record books for hosting the largest ever Burns’ Supper.
Held at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange as part of the organisation’s 160th anniversary celebrations, the event was adjudicated by Guinness World Records, with the total smashing the previous record of 645 attendees set in Glasgow in 2015.
Burns’ Night suppers are a celebration of the life and poetry of Scottish writer Robert Burns (1759-1796), with Burns’ Suppers held on or near his birthday, 25 January. A traditional supper sees the haggis piped in and served with neeps and tatties, Burns’ poetry recited, toasts given and, of course, Scotch whisky.
“Our Burns’ Supper was truly unforgettable,” said Scotmid CEO, John Brodie. “It was great to see so many friends and colleagues joining together to be part of such a memorable achievement.”
Scotmid president Harry Cairney, who, like Mr Brodie, wore the specially commissioned Scotmid tartan, added: “Thanks to everybody who contributed to this record-breaking feat – it was a real team effort; that has been a recurring theme throughout our 160 years serving Scottish communities and improving people’s everyday lives.”
Several co-operatives attended the event, including delegations from East of England, Central England and Co-op Press, as well as representatives from Co-operatives UK, the Co-op Party, Midcounties, Heart of England, Southern and VME Co-op.
Hosting the event was comedian and presenter, Fred McAulay. Hugh Farrell, chair of the Friends of Robert Burns Birthplace Museum addressed the haggis and delivered the Immortal Memory (a speech remembering some aspect of Burns’s life or poetry), while Burns’ poem Tam O’Shanter was delivered by Fergus Muirhead. The Toast to the Lassies was given by actor Mark Cox (Tam Mullen in Scottish sitcom Still Game) and the Response from the Lassies came from Jane McCarry (Still Game’s Isa Drennan).
Read more: 160 years of Scotmid Co-operative
The Preston Lodge High School Pipe Band piped in the record-breaking number of guests while the award-winning co-operation band also entertained the attendees during the event.