Celebrities back famous charity
Four new poems by Scottish author Alexander McCall Smith were the highlights of a charity event celebrating the 40th anniversary of Edinburgh’s Eric Liddell Centre (ELC).
Named after the legendary Scottish athlete Eric Liddell, hero of the film Chariots of Fire, the centre is a care charity and community hub which specialises in daycare for people living with dementia and respite and befriending for their carers.
During an online broadcast for the 40th anniversary, Sally Magnusson, Sir James MacMillan and Dame Darcy Bussell talked about how music and dance can transform and enrich the lives of people living with dementia.
To commemorate the occasion, Alexander McCall Smith, a patron of the centre, gave the first reading of four short poems he has composed in honour of Eric Liddell. The poems are entitled “Eric Liddell realises he can run”, “Liddell breaks records”, “In China he leaps onto a departing boat”, “He was a good man”.
Not only are the poems new, but a fifteen-year-old composer, Alexander MacNamee, a pupil at George Watson’s College will soon be debuting his work, having been chosen to set the poetry to music.
John MacMillan CEO of the Eric Liddell Centre said: “The feedback for our online event has been that it was inspiring hearing about the transformative power of music and the difference it makes to people’s lives.
“It was also of great interest that Eric Liddell’s daughter Patricia joined us online from her home in Canada, Lord David Puttnam, famous for his film Chariots of Fire and Sally Magnusson who wrote The Flying Scotsman about Eric’s life were able to talk about him together and share their stories, along with our host, Matt Allwright.”
Sally Magnusson is the author of a book entitled Where Memories Go: Why Dementia Changes Everything which charts her journey with her mother after she developed dementia. Sally discovered what a difference it made to her mother to hear music that she had known and inspired Sally to found a charity Playlist for Life to assist other families in similar situations.
Dame Darcy Bussell and Sir James MacMillan have both visited the centre and seen the effect of music and dance on those in dementia Day Care.
Sir James was interviewed expressing his belief that music plays a vital part in everyone’s life from childhood to old age and that it provides enrichment for all.
Dame Darcy participated in a daycare session at the ELC and was filmed dancing with the group where everyone is seen to be engaged in the activities and enjoying them.