14 June 2017
A charity dinner attended by former US President Barack Obama raised £670,000 for causes in Scotland.
Organised by the Hunter Foundation, Mr Obama made his first trip to the country for a speech in front of about 1,200 people including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, author JK Rowling and musician Annie Lennox.
All profits from the night, including an auction, are to go charities taking part in the Kiltwalk campaign.
The Hunter Foundation said £570,000 was raised on the night, with a further £100,000 to be allocated to charities chosen by comedian Kevin Bridges and singers Lennox and Sharleen Spiteri in lieu of performance fees.
Those to benefit include Unicef, Maggie’s Centres, the Beatson Clinic, Clic Sargent and CHAS.
More than £1 million has already been raised by Kiltwalks in Glasgow and Aberdeen, with two more planned in Edinburgh and Dundee.
Philanthropist Sir Tom Hunter invited Mr Obama to the event and was delighted with the total raised.
He said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for charities across Scotland to have a great day out at the Kiltwalk, raise much-needed funds and get at least a 40% boost to their fundraising.
“Personally, I’d like to thank everyone who helped raise these amazing funds by supporting the Obama dinner event – it clearly shows the spirit of Scotland; we care always for those most in need in our society and believe fundamentally in opportunity for all.”
Despite the one-day visit, Mr Obama made the most of his time in Scotland by first going to the home of golf for a round at the Old Course in St Andrews.
The Democrat vowed to return to experience ”real” Scottish weather after playing golf in 26C (78.8F) heat at the end of May.
He said: ”I promise you I will be back because, unless it is raining and blustery, I will not feel I have got the full Scottish experience.”
Mr Obama was presented with a kilt to mark his visit but seems unlikely to wear it in public.
He told the audience in Edinburgh he would prefer a pair of Sir Tom’s tartan trousers.
Mr Obama said: ”Unfortunately, I have concluded my legs are too thin to pull it off, but those (tartan) trousers I have seen you wear. I think they look pretty good. So I might try some.”