On 2 September 2018 the RBIF held its inaugural (end-of) summer BBQ at the Chefparade Country venue in Etyek, just 30 minutes outside Budapest. It looked for a while that the day might be a complete wash-out, but in the morning the sun finally broke through and the first RBIF charity BBQ was held in […]

Hampden Park, Scotland’s national football stadium, has been host to the Scottish Football Museum since the turn of the millennium.

The insightful article by Stewart Miller revealed the impact that Ferenc Puskás had on him as a young boy, but he was not alone. Scottish football fans on the whole were mesmerised by the skills of the “Galloping Major”. Having played such a key role in what is rightly considered one of the world’s best games, which broke several records (most goals in a European Cup final, most goals by one player in a European Cup final, and highest attendance at a European football game), it was only fitting that the Robert Burns International Foundation together with the Scottish Football Museum, the Puskás Institute, the Hungarian Embassy in London, the Hungarian Scottish Society and the Puskás International Football Foundation unveiled a plaque at Hampden Park in 2015, in honour of one of the best players the footballing world has ever seen.

You can read more about Ferenc Puskás and his links to Scotland in this article written by Stuart Spencer at the Scottish Football Museum.

The Ferenc Puskás – Sir Alex Ferguson Sponsor of the Year Trophy goes to the company judged to have made the most significant contribution to the work of the Robert Burns International Foundation during the course of the previous year.

Stewart Miller, a sports fan from Argyll, Scotland, had been so moved by the death of the legendary Hungarian footballer Ferenc Puskás that he wanted to present something to his widow, Erzsébet, in honour of the great man. This is his story:

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I am like many people on this planet a fanatical football fan. The death of Ferenc Puskás evoked mixed emotions amongst everybody with a love of the great game. Whilst we were all deeply saddened by the loss of one of the sport’s greatest ambassadors, we can also take some comfort from the great memories he has bestowed on us.

My own introduction to the legendary Puskás was via my father and grandfather. Both were present at Hampden Park (Glasgow) on 18 May 1950, to witness what has been recognised as one of the greatest football games ever. On that day Puskás and Real Madrid showed the world football perfection, by winning the European Cup in front of over 130,000 fans, defeating Eintracht Frankfurt by seven goals to three. Puskás scored four goals. Though I was not even a twinkle in my father’s eye in 1960, I was to hear stories of this marvellous football game for many years to come. Ferenc Puskás achieved greatness. He scored 511 goals in 533 appearances in the Hungarian and Spanish leagues. He also scored 83 goals in 84 international matches for Hungary – a strike rate unmatched in international football (and footballs were very much heavier in those days!). On two occasions, in 1953 and 1954, Puskás and the national Hungary side also demolished England, and in the process became the first overseas team to beat England at Wembley. This feat also won the hearts of the Scottish nation.

As a tribute to this legend and truly outstanding character, I have commissioned the production of a very unique gift. A highly skilled craftsman located in the north of Scotland has lovingly created a hand-made copper football. The football is of the highest quality it is creative, and it is unique – just like Puskás. This gift is for the family of Ferenc Puskás. Please accept this gift from the football fans of Scotland We love Ferenc Puskás. He will never be forgotten – his football exploits will be told for many generations to come – in his native Hungary, in Scotland, and all over the world.

Stewart Miller
Football Fan
Scotland

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Stewart wrote to the Hungarian embassy in London, and the news eventually made its way to Zoltán Magyar, the Robert Burns International Foundation Founder.

Zoltán suggested that the gift could perhaps be used in a different way, and Mrs Puskás agreed that it could be used as an annual sponsor’s award. In 2007, Sir Alex Ferguson became the Honorary President of the RBIF, and the trophy now bears the names of the two footballing legends.

You can read all about the previous winners of the trophy in the separate articles on our Sponsors of the Year, which you can find here.

Just a few weeks after the festivities around Christmas and New Year, people are always ready for a party again, which makes the timing of the traditional Budapest Burns Supper perfect. The 21st annual event was held as ever in the amazing Ballroom of the Corinthia Hotel Budapest on 27 January 2018.

As a Burns Supper there are many traditional elements, such as the Address to the Haggis, performed by the lead piper Rab Tait in his own inimitable way. Guests are also treated to Scotland’s national dish of haggis, neeps and tatties as a starter, with many asking for more! Over the years, DHL as a sponsor have brought over almost one and a half tonnes of haggis from Scotland to Budapest for the Burns Supper.

This year guests were entertained by the fabulous singing and poetry recital of Sophie Craig, a 16-year-old girl from Alloway, who performed at Burns’ Cottage on the 25th before jumping on a plane to perform in Budapest as well. A real talent!

The Budapest Burns Suppers have been growing and growing recently, and almost 350 people attended this year, a record turnout. The superb venue provides a great setting for some serious fundraising in the course of the evening.

Overall more than HUF 13 million was raised, which will be donated to the 2nd Department of Paediatrics in Tűzoltó utca, the Péterfy Children’s Hospital, and other projects to be announced over the coming months by the Robert Burns International Foundation.

Sponsor of the Year was Generali Foundation, a huge thanks to them, but the event can never be held without the support of our regular sponsors too:

Gold Sponsors: Corinthia Hotel, Budapest Airport, FirstMed Centers and Woodbrook Wealth.
Silver Sponsors: Qatar Airways, DHL and Diageo.
Bronze Sponsors: Theodora Water, CBRE and Inter Relocation.

Click here to see all the photos from the Burns Supper, and we are grateful to photographer Russell Skidmore for his voluntary help in recording all the great memories from the event.

The organisers would also like to thank WhiskyNet, Arran Distillery, CocaCola, Dreher, Volvo, Szent Donát Winery Babiczki Winery, Zwack, Nespresso, as well as all those who helped with the raffle and the auction.

With so many people turning up, make sure you like the RBIF Facebook page to be sure of hearing all the details about next year’s event in good time, and to find out what projects the RBIF will be supporting throughout 2018!

The Robert Burns International Foundation (RBIF) is supported by the British Ambassador to Hungary and the Hungarian Ambassador to the UK. The Honorary President of the foundation is Sir Alex Ferguson, former manager of Manchester United football club. In the last 20 years the organisation has raised several hundred thousand euros to help sick and underprivileged children.

Contact: info@rbif.hu

The Robert Burns International Foundation raises charity funds throughout the year, though it comes into strongest focus around the Burns Supper. But given what it commits to do, raising the money is as nothing if it is not spent.

Professor Dr György Fekete, the former Director of the II Paediatric Department of Semmelweis University in Budapest, acts as medical adviser to the RBIF, helping sift through the many applications for support to find and select the most appropriate and deserving projects.

The Hungarian health care system has been underfunded for years, since long before the global economic crisis began to tighten purse strings. As a result, donations from foundations, private sponsors and organisations are often the only ways open to hospitals in need of new equipment. The only alternatives are official Hungarian or EU research projects and grants, but the process of accessing the money is complex and time consuming. “Donations are easier and faster sources, because they do not require such a long administrative and bureaucratic processes as the applications for grants,” the Professor says.

“Since all the instruments serve basic, every-day medical needs, mostly important in the emergency and intensive-care treatment of ill children, these gifts have helped to save lives in many cases,” Fekete insists.

“Hungarian doctors and patients know and are very thankful for all of these donations, being aware of the difference to their work, on the one hand, and their improved chances for being healthy again on the other. In short, all the hospitals that have been supported over the years are now able to offer a higher level of medical care than before the donation, and this fact is very crucial for the benefit for our young patients!”

Thank youProfessor Dr György Fekete speaking at the 2011
Budapest Burns Supper. Photo courtesy of Tamás Rajna,
www.imagesbyrajna.com

The RBIF applies strict criteria before it agrees to pay out any monies. Hospital units must prove their need for the equipment and give guarantees the money will be used solely for the purposes outlined.

By Robin Marshall

In January 2018 the RBIF’s pipers and drummers accepted an invitation from the Hungarian Parliamentary Guard to play at Hungary’s iconic National Assembly building, the Hungarian Parliament. It was a genuine honour for the band to be asked, and it proved popular with the tourists as well!

The pipers and drummers were:

Rab Tait, David Proudfoot, Michael Gray, Grant Munro, Michael Rutherford, Steven Brown, Richard Fairnie and Barry Wilson.

20th Burns Supper: Money raised to help sick children exceeds HUF 8 million

At the 20th anniversary gala and Scottish cultural event of the Robert Burns International Foundation (RBIF) on 21 January, donations raised for the healthcare projects embraced by the foundation amounted to more than ever before.

This year’s 20th Anniversary Budapest Burns Supper – not unlike in previous years – was held for its exclusive guests in the grandiose ballroom of the Corinthia Hotel with a typical dose of Scottish culture.

Following the celebratory toast of Iain Lindsay, British Ambassador to Hungary, Zoltán Magyar founder of the RBIF and President of the Hungarian Scottish Society, and Douglas Arnott, Chairman of the RBIF Curatorium, awarded PriceWaterhouseCoopers the Ferenc Puskás – Sir Alex Ferguson Award, given annually to the sponsor of the year. The award was named after the legendary captain of the Golden Team, Ferenc Puskás, and the honorary president of the foundation, Sir Alex Ferguson, former manager of Manchester United, and is always given to the company that was the most outstanding supporter of the foundation that year. This spring, Ferguson will personally hand the award over to Nick Kós, managing director of PwC, at a Manchester United football match at Old Trafford.

The Burns Supper, full of original Scottish culinary delicacies, is organised annually in honour of Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns. This year, besides the Scottish pipers and dancers, and the indispensable haggis with its special ceremony, folk dancers from Transylvania added some Hungarian spice to the event.

The Budapest Burns Supper is unique in the sense that the money gathered from entrance fees, the raffle and the auction of products, services offered by sponsors is spent entirely on charity by the Robert Burns International Foundation. At this year’s event this amounted to HUF 8 million, from which the foundation will buy medical equipment for the neonatal unit of the Péterfy Children’s Hospital, the 2nd Department of Paediatrics in Tűzoltó utca, Budapest, and Miskolc Hospital, as well as supporting the Zabar Nursery School in Nógrád county. The foundation raised more than HUF 12 million for healthcare institutions in 2016.

For photos and videos please click here:

Sponsor of the Year: PwC Hungary
Gold sponsors: Budapest Airport, Corinthia Hotel, Deloitte Hungary, Generali Insurance
Silver sponsors: KPMG, Qatar Airways, Diageo, DHL, Woodbrook Wealth
Bronze sponsors: Toray Water AG

The Robert Burns International Foundation (RBIF) is supported by the British Ambassador to Hungary and the Hungarian Ambassador to the UK. The Honorary President of the foundation is Sir Alex Ferguson, former manager of Manchester United football club. In the last 20 years the organisation has raised several hundred thousand euros to help sick and underprivileged children.

Contact: info@rbif.hu

19th Burns Supper: more than HUF 5 million raised for premature babies and sick children

At the largest charity event of the Robert Burns International Foundation (RBIF), the traditional Scottish Burns Supper held on 23 January 2016, the guests raised more than HUF 5 million for the child health-care projects earmarked by the Foundation – this year including the Neonatal Department of the Péterfy Sándor Hospital and the 2nd Department of Paediatrics in Tűzoltó utca.

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The Budapest Burns Supper is one of the highlights of the ball season, attended by executives, ambassadors, business-owners and groups of friends. At the evening demonstrating facets of Scottish culture, the guests were entertained by a children’s choir, a live bagpipe performance, a young opera singer and Scottish country dancers, before being able to learn different Scottish dances themselves after the dinner.

Zoltán Magyar, founder of the RBIF and the Hungarian-Scottish Society, along with Douglas Arnott, Chairman of the RBIF Curatorium handed over the Sponsor of the Year trophy, the Puskás Ferenc – Sir Alex Ferguson Award, to Deloitte. The award bears the name of the legendary Hungarian footballer and captain of the “Golden Team”, as well as the Honorary President of the RBIF, former manager of Manchester United. The trophy is awarded to the most outstanding supporter of the Foundation over the year. Sir Alex Ferguson will hand over the trophy in person to Gerard Lucey, CFO of Deloitte, at a home Manchester United game at Old Trafford this autumn. The Loyal Toast was given by Caitlin Jones, Chargé d’Affaires at the British Embassy in Budapest to the 315 guests. As a special guest of the evening, György Szöllősi, representing the Puskás Ferenc Institute, handed over a copy of the Puskás biography to the Sponsor of the Year. This third edition with a foreword by Ferguson was published in December 2015.

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What is special about the Budapest Burns Supper is that the funds raised from tickets, the raffle as well as products and services offered by sponsors for the are donated in their entirety by the Robert Burns International Foundation for charitable purposes. This amounted to more than HUF 5 million at this year’s event, which the RBIF will be using to buy special equipment for the Neonatal Department at the Péterfy Sándor Hospital, and helping to fund the renovation of the operatingtheatre and related facilities at the 2nd Department of Paediatrics in Tűzoltó utca. In 2015 a further HUF 10 million was donated to these two institutions for medical equipment.

Photos and videos, click here

The Grand Ballroom of the Corinthia Hotel Budapest hosted the 18th Annual Budapest Burns Supper on 24 January 2015. Around 300 guests packed into the ballroom for an evening of great entertainment with fine food, fine wines, and fine whiskies.

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Everyone was able to enjoy live pipe band music featuring world champion musicians, the traditional Address to the Haggis by Rab Tait, the lead piper, a choir performance by children from the Austrian-Hungarian Europaschule, and a Scottish country dancing display.

The chef at the Corinthia Hotel put together a superb menu including haggis flown in fresh from Inverness, Scotland. A night of Scottish culture and entertainment would not be complete without suitable refreshments, and we were fortunate to enjoy the support of Dreher, Diageo, Zwack Hungary and WhiskyNet, who manned the whisky-tasting bar again with a selection of malts from all round Scotland, while Vargabor and Hangácsi és Fia provided top-quality wines to accompany the meal.

The Puskás Ferenc – Sir Alex Ferguson Trophy was presented to the RBIF’s Sponsor of the Year, the Mercedes-Benz / Evobus, represented by General Manager Ingo Fröhlich. The trophy will be presented again by the RBIF’s Honorary President Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford, Manchester in April 2015.DSC_4583

The raffle prizes (first prize: two tickets with Turkish Airlines anywhere in the world) and the auction items were very popular, raising over 5 million HUF on the night, a fantastic achievement, and this money will be used over the year to sponsor the projects designated by the Foundation.

As ever we are grateful to all our sponsors who make this event possible.