Print Friendly, PDF & Email

There is a concert this Friday night at the Eric Liddell Centre in Morningside that you may wish to put in your diary now.

The Walnuts, who have played concerts across the UK and Europe to raise money for dementia will perform at Morningside United Church on the 14th June to raise funds for the Eric Liddell Centre, as part of their Lighthouse Tour of Scotland.

I went to the Northern Lighthouse Board at lunchtime to hear the folk supergroup who are appearing at the Centre on Friday to help raise funds for dementia care charity Eric Liddell.

Davie McGirr of The Walnuts, named after the wooden instruments at least some of them play

Davie McGirr, lead singer in the group, explained why they were playing in the George Street office : “Every year for the last couple of years we have done a tour and there has been a certain theme to it. The first year we went to Oslo and back – that was all about seeing how far we could go in a motorhome in a week. Last year we went to Barcelona to play in as many places as possible. That worked too. We do a lot of fundraising events for charity, so once we realised we could actually do this – just turn up and play some tunes we decided to get a bit more organised.

“One of our band members, Matt, did some work with the Northern Lighthouse Board last year and asked if we could go and play some of the lighthouses.”

So that is what they have been doing. Davie said : “It is almost impossible to get to six lighthouses in a week, and also people don’t tend to hang out at lighthouses at night time, so they are all lunchtime gigs.

“We have played the Mull of Galloway lighthouse, and we are off to Ardnamurchan on Saturday but before that we are playing for the Eric Liddell Centre on Friday night in Morningside.”

The band is made up of Fergus Muirhead, Donald Stewart, Matt Allwright and Davie McGirr. You will know Matt better from presenting BBC shows such as Rogue Trader and Watchdog.

Davie used to play in a band with John McMillan the CEO of the Eric Liddell Centre when they were teenagers and that is the musical connection between the two, but there is another reason why Davie wants to raise funds for dementia charities.

The Walnuts warming up for their concert at the Northern Lighthouse Board

Davey explained that he first became aware of dementia because his mother-in-law had early onset dementia.

He and his wife built an extension on their house so that she and his father-in-law could come and stay with them. He explained : “One of the things I realised was that my wife and father-in-law became full-time carers, and there is little support round about. You are pretty much left on your own. I think unless you are in the dementia community you have no idea how much it affects the family.

“I couldn’t do the caring, so I started playing concerts in people’s living rooms to raise funds to help. I really enjoyed gigging in people’s front rooms! Then I got invited onto Matt’s radio show when I was really very nervous. As soon as I walked in he had a guitar in his hand and asked to play along with me.

“We realised that we like the same sort of music, and he is a near neighbour at home in England, so he began to come to do the concerts with me, and then eventually Fergus and Donald came to join us.

“But we don’t get to play together very often, so this week is great and by the end of the week we will be rocking!” Don’t miss the concert this Friday when you should expect folk with a bit of Americana flung in.

You can buy tickets on the door or on Eventbrite. Or contact the centre by email frontdesk@ericliddell.org or by phoning 0131 447 4520

Matt, Davie, Donald and Fergus