Launch of 2019 Tumbling Lassie events

21 Feb


DETAILS have been confirmed for the first event in the Tumbling Lassie 2019 fundraising calendar, with a new charity partner lined up to benefit.

In its previous three years of raising awareness of modern slavery and people trafficking, the Tumbling Lassie Committee – six members of the Faculty of Advocates – has donated around £60,000 to help victims at home and overseas.

This year’s efforts begin on Sunday, 14 April, with a performance of The Tumbling Lassie, an operetta by author Alexander McCall Smith and his musical collaborator Tom Cunningham, in St Andrew’s and St George’s West Church, George Street, Edinburgh, at 7:30pm. It is a double bill with Fergus of Galloway, another McCall Smith/Cunningham work.

Once again, International Justice Mission (IJM) will be the overseas charity supported by the Committee. However, the Scottish charity is to change from Trafficking Awareness Raising Alliance (TARA) to Survivors of Human Trafficking in Scotland (SOHTIS). The switch follows TARA’s becoming part of Glasgow City Council and its work being funded by the council and the Scottish Government.

“We are very excited to launch our 2019 fundraisers, kicking off with the operetta on 14 April. We’ll also be holding our fourth Tumbling Lassie Charity Ball, at Prestonfield House on 5 October,” said Maryam Labaki, Advocate, a member of the Committee.

“We are grateful to Alexander McCall Smith and Tom Cunningham for bringing the Tumbling Lassie to life, which has helped our appeal enormously. Funds raised this year will hopefully continue to raise awareness of the issue while helping those in direct need of assistance to escape exploitation.”

Alan McLean, QC, Chair of the Committee, added: “We are very glad to have had the chance to support TARA, and proud of what the funds we raised for TARA helped to achieve. Going forward, we are delighted to work with SOHTIS, alongside the excellent IJM.”

Some years ago, Mr McLean found reference to a court case from 1687 with a girl, called “the tumbling lassie”, as a central character. She had been “bought” from her mother and forced by a travelling showman to work as a performing gymnast until, physically worn out, she fled and was given refuge by a couple.

The showman went to court and demanded damages from the couple, but the judges in the Court of Session dismissed his claim, and the official report of the case, Reid v Scot of Harden and his Lady, stated: “But we have no slaves in Scotland, and mothers cannot sell their bairns.”

Ticket details for April’s event, and more information about the Tumbling Lassie appeal, are at