MORE than £1.6 million has been raised in a campaign to help the National Trust for Scotland weather the pandemic

The Save Our Scotland fundraising drive was launched last month after the charity forecast it would lose £28min income this year as its heritage sites shut due to lockdown.

When the extent of the loss was calculated in May, 429 staff were told they were at risk of redundancy.

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The trust has paused all projects and postponed the re-opening of some properties to save money, some for up to two years.

Among those that may not re-open until the 2022/23 season include Bannockburn Visitor Centre, Hill of Tarvit, House of the Binns, Kippen Smiddy, Leith Hall, Holmwood and Souter Johnnie’s Cottage.

The fundraising campaign was launched on June 10 and has secured international support, including donations from America.

Trust members have donated £800,000 in addition to their subscriptions – the 
highest total of member contributions for any fundraising appeal by the National Trust for Scotland (NTS).

One of the country’s most well-known faces donated his famous voice to the Save Our Scotland appeal aimed at securing the future of natural heritage sites and historic attractions.

Actor Brian Cox, who is currently starring in the Sky Atlantic drama Succession, recorded the voiceover remotely from his home in New York.

Mark Bishop, of NTS, said: “The trust has been blown away by the response of key supporters, members who have donated, and the wider public too.

“This shows there is a lot of support for the trust out there and many people who want to play their part in helping it continue its vital work to protect so much of what people love about Scotland.

“The support for the appeal will help our charity to recover from the impact of the virus and to get back to doing what it does on everyone’s behalf, including re-opening many of our most-loved places.

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“The appeal is still running and further support is needed to be able to safeguard the future of the properties in our care. Anyone who would like to play their part can donate through our online appeal page.”

As lockdown restrictions have eased, all NTS countryside sites and some 30 estates and gardens have re-opened, including Culzean Country Park in South Ayrshire, Threave Garden in Dumfries and Galloway and Crathes Castle’s garden and estate in Aberdeenshire.

Selected castles, houses and visitor centres are scheduled to open next month.

To donate to the appeal see: