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The Highland Gathering


The Highland Gathering (one of the main fundraising events for Amanzimtoti clubs) will take place on Saturday 29th April 2006 at Hutchison Park Amanzimtoti.

Following is a bit of history about this event.

The first South Coast Highland Gathering was held on June the 15th 1963, as part of a fund raising event for Umbogintwini Primary School. The organisers were Cliff and Betty Leesam, a Scottish family, and involved Dr Ian Dalziel and his wife Pat. To this day Mrs Pat Dalziel, a Lions club Lady, is heavily involved in this annual event. The Highland Gathering continued to be held at this venue until 1969. At this time the Amanzimtoti area was relatively undeveloped and much of it was farming units. In those days, for economic viability, the Highland Gathering was held as a joint event involving the Amanzimtoti Agricultural Show. In 1970 the venue for the event was moved to Athlone Park Primary School and in 1972 to Kingsway High School. In 1973 a committee involving Pat Dalziel organised the event on wasteland by the river, then in 1974 and 1975 in front of the municipal buildings. In 1976 the Amanzimtoti Lions became involved and the event moved to its current venue at Hutchison Park. In 1990 the Lions took over full responsibility for the event. The event is reputedly the largest of its specific type in the Southern Hemisphere and enjoys attendances exceeding 10,000 each year. The Event Today

22 Pipe bands and approximately 100 dancers from around the Country participate. The average size of each band is about 20 members who amount to 440 competitors plus 100 dancers which totals about 540 participants. These people are accompanied by family and supporters who require mostly Amanzimtoti accommodation, petrol and food for four days and bring much needed revenue to the area. The first available accommodation units to go are normally the self catering flats within walking distance to the sea and amenities and with a view of the beach. There are nearly 200 flea-market stalls and 4 dealer stands which increase year on year. Some of these stalls make as much as R10 000.00 on the day, and bring employment and revenue into the community. Dealers attract interest and not only sell on the day but have ongoing enquiries and sales after the event. The Amanzimtoti Lions Club turn over R280 000.00 to make a profit of R120 000.00 thereby supporting local business with the expenditure but also ploughing the profits back to charities, welfare and the needy of the community.