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Rural economy is celebrated in style at the SHIREs

By Staff Reporter

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A NEW addition to the awards calendar confirms that exciting things are happening outside of Scotland’s big cities.

That was a key message to the guests and nominees attending the first ever Scottish Highlands and Islands Rural Economy Awards – the SHIREs – at the Kingsmills Hotel in Inverness, where nine awards were handed out to celebrate the innovation, creativity and hard work of the people of rural Scotland.

Pointing out that the Scottish rural economy accounted for around a third of the Scottish total – more than Glasgow and Edinburgh combined – host Nicky Marr said: “That should give us confidence that what we are doing here is just as important as what goes on within that crowded M8 corridor.

“Tonight is about celebrating our successes – and we have a lot of successes. Around 20 per cent of Scotland’s population lives in rural areas.

“This is our moment to stand up.”

Her comments were echoed by Chris Kerr, head of rural economy with event main sponsors Harper Macleod, and chairman of the judging panel Chris Kerr.

“We are here to celebrate all that is great about our rural economy and from the level of interest, it is clear that all of us are proud to be a part of that,” he said.

The event followed on the first Scottish Highlands and Islands Rural Economy Conference, also held at the Kingsmills, with speakers including representatives from the Scottish Government, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Cairngorms National Parks Authority and and North Coast 500.

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