Runrig star to auction off guitar strings for Skye charity which strikes a chord

Malcolm Jones playing with the strings – which are up for auction – during the final night of Runrig’s ‘The Last Dance’ gig at Stirling Castle in 2018. Photo credit: Andrew King.

Runrig star Malcolm Jones has this week announced that he will auction off a set of strings from his favourite guitar – which he played during the band’s final concert – to raise money for a Skye charity close to his heart.

He made the announcement on Tuesday evening via a post on Runrig’s official Facebook page. It stated: “Some of you may know I support a charity called Lucky2BHere set up by a Portree High School friend, Ross Cowie, who has done an amazing job to make the charity a huge ongoing success.

“The aim is simple – to provide life-saving portable defibrillators, easily operable by the public as well as trained professionals, placed in remote and rural areas throughout the Highlands and beyond, places which otherwise would not have ready access to this equipment. In addition, a programme of training has been introduced into communities and schools, with the ultimate objective to introduce ELS – Emergency Life Saving – training into every Scottish school curriculum.

“To date, hundreds of defibrillators have been placed throughout the Highlands, members of the public trained in their usage and lives saved as a result. The charity continues to be run by volunteers and funded by donations.”

The Skye musician’s gesture coincides with the 10th anniversary of Lucky2BHere which was established by island resident Ross Cowie after he himself survived a cardiac arrest due to the fact that an ambulance carrying a defibrillator was close by.

To mark the anniversary, the Runrig guitarist will auction the guitar strings from his favourite white Fender Stratocaster guitar used on the band’s final two concerts at Stirling Castle in August 2018 which brought Runrig’s 45-year run to an end.

Some 25,000 watched Runrig’s ‘The Last Dance’ concert at Stirling Castle in 2018.
Photo credit: Andrew King/Runrig

Speaking to the Free Press, Mr Jones who is a trustee of Lucky2BHere said: “It is great to have a charity that I personally can identify with, both geographically and emotionally. Ten years ago, I had my own health problem, which chimes exactly with what Ross (Cowie) is doing. Of course, it is great to support big national and international charities but for me to be involved with something that’s local and personal is very important.

Asked whether the decision to part with the strings had been a difficult one, he said that he “didn’t want to belittle the decision” but went on to add: “I am a patron of a charity and if a set of strings historically important to me can be put to good use, then I am very happy that they go to another home! I still have the memories, the DVD, and the rest of it. I was very happy to make the decision and it just seemed like a good idea, especially in light of the tenth anniversary.”

The Free Press also asked what he would say to the proud recipient of the strings and if he was looking forward to seeing who they would go on to.

Mr Jones said: “Firstly, thank them for their generosity! They can treat them as historical artefacts or they can put them on a guitar – as long as they get pleasure out of them that’s fine by me!

“From having the idea and thinking ‘is it worthwhile doing this, is anyone going to be interested?’ to the auction actually going live and seeing that there is some interest, it’s very exciting. I am sure there are loads of generous people out there so fingers crossed!”

Lucky2BHere founder Ross Cowie said: “This is a tremendous and very personal contribution from Malcolm who has been so supportive of Lucky2bhere since its inception. Backing like this really does make a huge difference”

Commenting on whether he was excited to be part of Lucky2BHere’s tenth-anniversary celebrations next week Malcolm Jones told the Free Press: “Aye, even though I will be working part of the night! I’ll be playing as part of the Scottish Dance Band later in the evening. But I’m also looking forward to meeting up with Ross and the people who have been involved these last ten years and having a good time together. It’ll be a great night.”

The bidding process will take place via private messages on the Official Runrig Facebook Page only and all bids must be submitted by 6 pm GMT on Friday 22nd November. The winning bidder for the guitar strings will also receive a copy of Andrew King’s photo of Malcolm Jones playing the guitar on the final night of Runrig’s ‘The Last Dance’ gig at Stirling Castle in 2018, and a personalised hand-written note of authentication from Malcolm Jones.

For more information on the auction, simply click here.

Article by Adam Gordon.