Joe and Trudy Grahams lassie Emma has been in Stirling Royal Infirmary intensive care unit for over two months. Emma has complex special needs, and as Joe and Trudy live in Callander it meant they had to move into B&B accommodation to be with her every day.
Joe’s better known as ‘Joe the spurran maker’ he’s very kind-hearted and has never taken a penny for all the sporrans, belts etc he’s made and gave away, he’s just happy to see his work worn by proud Scots. The benefit night was a night to raise much needed funds, and an opportunity for people to show support.
Ted Christopher waived his fee and even secured the function suite at the Bannockburn arms, Alejo the piper, Clanadonia and Rab the dirk dancer all offered to support the event with no fee charged. Crann Tara kindly offered the use of their pay pal account for donations and ticket sales.
On the night the ‘weegiebus’ was packed with family and friends as folk travelled through from Glasgow, and many people travelled a great distance to be there. There was even two cars went through to Edinburgh to pick up some Irish guests. Once there everyone there pitched in, the room was decorated with saltires, bunting and Clan Graham Logos, someone offered to do the door, and others did the raffle tickets. Too many people helped out to name individually, and it created a warm feeling of Scottish solidarity.
In order to get Joe and Trudy away from the hospital (not an easy thing to do) we created the story that Ted Christopher was having a private birthday party, and had invited them both. They’re huge ted fans and the plan worked, they agreed to come just for an hour. Phew! We were still worried they wouldn’t make it and they almost didn’t due to a glitch with one of Emma’s feeding tubes.
When they arrived they still didn’t know what was going on until they were called for a presentation, and were told the night was for them. Their friend Alejo Rodriguez piped a few tunes for them and Joe gave a short speech and the night began.
Clanadonia kicked the night off with their energetic tribal pipes and drums which had feet tapping, hands clapping and people on their feet dancing and joining in with maracas. They made a heart warming speech about how Scottish people know how to rally when needed and look after their own.
Ted Christopher was in top form, he took to the stage and had everyone on their feet singing and dancing with his own amazing mixture of his own songs, popular songs and tartan army medleys.
Rab, who has been renamed ‘the daring young dirkie’ amazed folk with his dirk dance, which went down a storm.
Joe and Trudy stayed until the end when they were presented with cards signed by well wishers, messages of support from absent friends and funds generated through donations and ticket sales. Albannach sent a package for Joe with Albannach merchandise and regrets they couldn’t be there as they were in America.
Joe made a speech saying that while he was really grateful for the funds, he was truly moved and appreciated the volume of support and the comfort of knowing how many friends cared in this very trying time in his life.
Joe sang an Irish song for some guests who had travelled from county cork, and said the love and show of Scottish solidarity that night touched him more than anything, and he took great comfort in knowing so many people had his family in their thoughts. It was a great morale booster for the family, and would help to see them through troubled times.
Joe’s family send their heartfelt thanks for everyone’s support, this is echoed by me, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to thank everyone who played a part in making this event the great success it was.
The sum raised was £1320 which just goes to prove what we all already know. Scottish people have the warmest hearts in the world.
By Helen Tennant