The Tumbling Lassie Ball returns in October

04 Apr

ONE of the most prestigious fundraisers in the Scottish events calendar returns this October.  


Now in its fifth year, The Tumbling Lassie Ball 2023, the largest anti-trafficking fundraising event in Scotland, will return on Saturday 28 October 2023. This year's theme is black and gold masquerade. The Ball will return to Prestonfield House in Edinburgh, with a drinks reception featuring the Tumbling Lassie Appeal's famous 1687 cocktail sponsored by the Faculty of Advocates. 



The event is organised by the Tumbling Lassie Appeal which raises awareness and funds for charities fighting against modern slavery and people trafficking and to help survivors in Scotland and beyond. Run by seven members of the Faculty of Advocates, to date the Tumbling Lassie Appeal has raised over £85,000.

It is named in honour of a case decided by the Court of Session in Edinburgh in 1687, Reid v Scot of Harden and his Lady, which concerned a young girl gymnast, known to history only by her nickname, "the tumbling lassie". She performed as an act in public entertainments put on by one Reid, a "mountebank" or travelling showman. She was being worn out by having to dance in Reid's shows and ran away, taking refuge with the Scots of Harden, a family from the Scottish Borders. Reid sued the Scots and produced a written contract, showing that he had "bought" the tumbling lassie from her mother. He argued that the tumbling lassie belonged to him as his property. The Court of Session dismissed Reid's claim, impliedly declaring the tumbling lassie free. The only surviving report of the case contains the trenchant observation: "But we have no slaves in Scotland, and mothers cannot sell their bairns..."

Sheriff Maryam Labaki, founding member of the Tumbling Lassie Appeal, said: “We are delighted to bring our fundraising ball back to Prestonfield House for 2023. The trafficking and exploitation of people are often invisible but are an ever-present problem that takes advantage of the displacement of people and is fuelled by conflict. We look forward to another opportunity to raise funds so that our charities can help the victims of trafficking at home and abroad and help them fight against those who profit in exploiting human beings.”

Alan McLean KC, chair of the Tumbling Lassie Appeal, said: “Slavery is now illegal all over the world. It is because this has not, tragically, prevented millions still being held in actual or effective slavery, throughout the world and even in Scotland, that the charities we support – IJM and SOHTIS - continue the struggle to end modern slavery and people trafficking and to support modern survivors of these crimes as they recover from their ordeals. We look forward to the strong support this event has attracted in the past from across the Scottish business community."

 Tickets to the Tumbling Lassie Ball are £95 per person. A limited number of tickets at a reduced price of £75 per person are made available for trainee solicitors and those under 5 years' PQE. Tickets include the cocktail drinks reception, a three-course dinner with wine, dancing and live entertainment.  

Tickets can be bought online here. Those who would prefer to pay by cheque should send their name and contact details and the number of tickets required to

 More details on the Ball and other events planned by the Tumbling Lassie Appeal can be found here.