Dark Island Trust’s birthday celebration

The ceilidh band during the 20th anniversary celebration in Kirkton of Durris Hall
The ceilidh band during the 20th anniversary celebration in Kirkton of Durris Hall

A North-east musical organisation has been celebrating its 20th anniversary and raising £100,000 for charities.

The Dark Island Trust has developed the Dark Island ceilidh band and a free event was held recently in Kirkton of Durris Hall.

More than 100 people attended the ceilidh and a celebratory cake was cut, with everyone enjoying reminiscences from Peter Saunders, a founder member of trust.

The organisation was formed in 1999 to promote traditional performing Scottish arts by providing opportunities for new artists to perform in public.

It pledges to donate proceeds from all performances to charity.

Over the years, most of the trust’s energy has been invested in developing the ceilidh band, which has members from across Deeside, the Mearns and the Garioch.

The band is made up of fiddle players, Caroline Clark, from Denside of Durris, Hector Forsyth, from Westhill, Flora Douglas, from Peterculter; whistle player, Charlie West, from Stonehaven; mandolin, Cathy Simpson, from Denside of Durris; banjo, Brian McCreadie, from Meikle Wartle; guitar, Alan Walker from Aberdeen; bodhran, Tony Hilton from Drumoak; and keyboard and caller, Angie Bolt, from Finzean.

The group has played for a wide range of private and public events in venues large and small.

They have appeared at Aberdeen’s Music Hall and performed in halls from Dundee to Cruden Bay.

A spokesperson said: “At least 60 people and organisations have donated their time voluntarily to the trust over the past 20 years, many playing in the band, others helping with calling and dance demonstrations, photography and publicity, web design and accounting, to name a few of the many ways in which people have supported the trust.

“The ethos of having a good time playing and dancing and enabling charities to benefit too has lasted for 20 years and the Dark Island Trust hopes that it will continue to thrive for many more decades to come.”