At the 181st Royal Highland Show at Ingliston in June 2023, Haemochromatosis UK volunteers and staff received a warm welcome for taking a stand to increase awareness of genetic haemochromatosis (GH) and iron overload in Scotland.

Each year the Royal Highland Show showcases the best of Scotland's food, farming and rural life attracting over 200,000 visitors from across Scotland and indeed the rest of the world.

Volunteer Ellanor

Volunteers supported staff across the four days of the Show distributing thousands of information leaflets and having hundreds of conversations. Louisa, Sarah and Ellanor had many vital interactions that may help prevent illness and ultimately save lives. The charity was very grateful to them for their time, knowledge and enthusiasm. 

The Haemochromatosis UK stand was approached all day by people with a personal or family diagnosis and were very grateful to see us, get answers to questions and take away information leaflets. Many show-goers specifically sought out the stand to thank us for coming and encourage further awareness in Scotland.

It was not uncommon when we talked to people with a diagnosis in the family that they were not aware of the importance of further family testing - given the heridary nature of GH. We encouraged people to be pro-active about family screening and to access our Advice Line as needed.

A large number of people discussed their symptoms which could be a indicator of the condition and resolved to see their GP to investigate Ferritin and Transferrin Saturation levels.

There was also a high level of curiosity about Haemochromatosis - with many saying they had never heard of it before - so this was a fantastic opportunity for the charity to share a better understanding of the prevalence and risk to people in Scotland.

Haemochromatosis UK hope to return to the show in 2024 if funding can be secured and would be very interested in hearing from more Scottish volunteers for the event. Simply contact the charity at [email protected]