A RECORD number of people visited the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum last weekend in celebration of the Bard’s260th birthday.

The National Trust enjoyed its most successful weekend ever with 1,838 visitors on Saturday, January 26 and a further 1,497 the following day.

More than 450 helpings of haggis, neeps and tatties were served at the unique Burns Supper drive thru, set up to the birthday of Ayrshire’s favourite son.

Caroline Smith, Operations Manager at the museum, said: “It was a fabulously fun weekend that followed on from the formal suppers of Burns night.

“The volunteers and staff at the museum were delighted to see so many people of all ages coming to find out more about Burns and enjoying themselves immensely in the process.

“As we know, he was a man who was very fond of entertainment, and I think he would have approved and been amused by the sight of so many people coming together so joyfully.”

The weekend’s events took place against the backdrop of a major fundraising appeal organised by the Trust to enable vital conservation work worth £100,000 to be carried out on the cottage where Burns was born on January 25 1759.

Caroline Smith added: “The fact is that National Trust for Scotland is a charity and conservation is such an expensive business that even all the membership fees and donations we receive, as generous as they are, are not enough.

“We’ve been investing a lot in the museum lately, including the soon to be completed restoration of the Burns Monument.

“In the case of Burns Cottage, we have carried out ongoing maintenance but have decided to prioritise restoration work to deal with the thatch and limewash due to more rapid than expected deterioration.

“As is normal when a decision is made to carry out a major project using specialised skills and techniques like this we fundraise. “As a charity, that’s what we do and we are so grateful for the generous support we’ve received and hope that more people can give a helping hand by donating.”

To donate to the appeal at https://www.nts.org.uk/donate/appeals/save-burns-cottage/amount