A star of an Oscar-winning movie and an icon of one of Scotland’s top comedies are preparing to take to the stage in Stirling.
‘Lord of the Rings’ actor Billy Boyd and Paul Riley, who played Winston in ‘Still Game’, are among the stars performing at ‘For the Love of Eilidh’.
The concert in the Macrobert on June 15 is the largest annual fundraiser for the Eilidh Brown Memorial Fund and also features a number of other stars of the stage, screen and music worlds, including musician Jon Fratelli and Tom Urie of ‘River City’.
Eilidh lost her battle with germ cell cancer two years ago, aged just 15. However, her devastated parents Gordon and Nicole were inspired to set up an appeal in her name to build a respite home for children going through similar struggles and their families.
The people of Stirling have since rallied round, raising more than £100,000 towards the more than £200,000 needed to build the home. Land on which to build the home has also been donated by a farming family near Thornhill.
Last year’s concert raised around £15,000 for the charity.
Billy, who will be back with his band Beecake, said: “It is a great charity anyway but, having done the concert last year, I know what a great night it is and I’m willing to do anything to help.
“Eilidh’s dad Gordon and I went to drama school together and were in the same class. Although we left in 1995 we stayed in touch and I knew Eilidh.
“The experience they had in going as a family to Callum’s Cabin when Eilidh was ill made them realise just how much it helps during times like that and gave them the inspiration to create the fund in Eilidh’s name.
“It is amazing to think that they are doing this, not for themselves but to help other families.
“People might think the concert is a bit like stepping on eggshells or that they have to have known Eilidh to go along but it’s not like that at all. It is a celebration of Eilidh’s life.
“Of course it is emotional at times and Eilidh is remembered in a celebratory way, with songs she liked, but it’s also a big night out for people, with acts like Jon Fratelli and a wild and wonderful group of people such as Tom Urie and Paul Riley. There’s a lot of comedy and a lot of music.
“I met up with my band last week and we are going to be thinking about what we will be doing on the night. It’s sounding really beautiful.
“I have a few things going on at the moment but I always find time for the band stuff and for Gordon’s night. It’s such a great night and the great thing is, because it’s the second one, we know what a fantastic night it is.
“It honestly was one of my favourite nights of last year.”
Paul Riley is just as excited about the prospect of taking to the Macrobert stage for the concert.
He said: “ Billy and myself have fun and enjoy a laugh and each other’s company. There is a great atmosphere.
“With the contacts Gordon has, the chance for him to organise a concert is almost a no-brainer.
“But he really is a very humble guy. Because of his personality so many people are happy to turn out for him. It’s the mark of the man that this is the path he has chosen to go down.
“This is one of these things where he and his family will get nothing out of what they are doing but they are doing it because they know it will help so many other people who have gone through what they and Eilidh did. It’s fantastic to be able to support them in that.”
Paul has also managed something of a coup, securing some of the most sought-after gig tickets in Scotland to raffle at the concert.
“I was speaking to my pal Kevin Bridges about the concert,” said Paul. “Unfortunately he couldn’t make it because of another commitment but he gave me two tickets for his show to raffle in aid of Eilidh’s fund.
“They were completely sold out ages ago and are much sought after so hopefully they will help raise a few extra quid.”
Paul is about to start rehearsals for a stage production of ‘The Wicker Man’ and is working solidly on a variety of projects right up until at least November but he wouldn’t miss ‘For the Love of Eilidh’. It is a great night.
“I don’t have any big plans for what I am going to be doing. I will probably just roll up on the night and say whatever comes out of my mouth. I’m just happy to be West of Scotland champion garbage talker.
“There’s some talk of Billy and I doing a song together. which might happen, but that depends.
“Regardless, it will be a great night with a lot of laughs and music. I’m just happy to be part of it.”
‘For the Love of Eilidh’ takes place at the Macrobert on June 15. Tickets, price £25, are available from the Macrobert box office on (01786) 466666.
Source: Stirling Observer