A pair of handcrafted one-of-a kind musical instruments are to be auctioned off in aid of The Leanne Fund.
Dr Ali Whiteford of Garrabost, Isle of Lewis, who makes and repairs string instruments, has created a beautiful bespoke Long Island guitar and a Mandocaster mandola and has kindly offered to sell them to raise funds for those affected by Cystic Fibrosis.
The instruments are the fruits of labour of Dr Whiteford who is well known luthier and musician.
Anyone wishing to view the instruments can contact The Leanne Fund office on 01851 702020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Bids for the guitar will start from £600 and £400 for the mandola. Sealed bids should be sent to or hand delivered to The Leanne Fund office before 5pm on July 31st.
Chrisetta Mitchell, Development Manager for The Leanne Fund said: “We are so grateful to Ali for offering to auction these beautiful instruments in aid of The Leanne Fund.
“They are stunning unique instruments and we’re sure there will be a lot of interest in them.”
Describing the inspiration behind each instrument Dr Whiteford said:
Long Island guitar
The inspiration to make this instrument came a number of years ago whilst at a concert in the An Lanntair Arts Centre given by well known local singer/songwriter/musician Willie Campbell. The stage backdrop to Willie’s performance was a large map of the Western Isles, the most northerly isle being the Long Island of Lewis and Harris. For one number, Willie was playing a solid electric guitar. The outline of the Long Island, with the large indent of Broad Bay seemed a natural fit for the body of a guitar, Broad Bay coinciding with the neck cut-away in the body of a guitar which allows for easy playing at the top end of the neck. The immense amount of musical talent that lurks in these islands was the other inspiration. With other things on the go the idea was put on the back-burner until a couple of years ago when I was given a Fender Stratocaster copy in payment for some repairs to various guitars. The neck from this guitar became a donor item as did the selector switch.
The body is made of ash and mahogany, ash being used for Lewis and mahogany for Harris. The thickness of the body was carved to give a comfortable playing position and reduce weight. An exact outline of the coastline for the body would not lead to a stable structure so the coastline is defined by using an inlay of black ebony wood. The chrome pickups are Artec Vintage units and the potentiometers are long shaft items. The ends of the tremolo arm and the selector switch are carved mahogany with chrome ends. To keep the front of the instrument clean, the jack plug is on the back, behind Harris. In the middle of the Point region of Lewis, just below the Broad Bay cutout, is a mother-of-pearl dot indicating where the instrument was made - Garrabost. The neck end is covered in iconic Harris Tweed, with the truss rod cover being a Harris Tweed label. The Harris Tweed has not been varnished so that it remains tactile but the edge has been treated to avoid fraying. The body was finished in seven coats of gloss varnish which was then treated with steel wool to give a satin matt finish.
To give the instrument some soul, it was handed over to well known island guitarist and guitar technician, David ‘Doylie ‘ Macdonald, who worked his magic to produce an instrument with a good action and excellent tone. As part of the set-up, David replaced the bridges with steel units, set the action using a neck gauge, reworked the nut and wired the pickups to his own spec with separate tone controls for the neck and bridge pickups.
I am no connoisseur of electric guitars but when I first heard David playing it -the first time I had heard it make a sound - the hairs on the back of my neck stood up! He is a genius.
The mandola was designed and built as a result of a commission for a solid electric instrument but, subsequently, the commissioner sadly passed away. The instrument has elements of Stratocaster design in the neck end and scratch plate. The neck, made from mahogany, runs straight through the body - eliminating the need for a neck/body joint - with the body being built up with ash, again with the thickness carved for comfort and weight. The finger board is made from ebony with mother-of-pearl inlay dots and a bone nut and fretted with medium-fine gauge wire. The bridge and string bar are aluminium with the bridge being free as in mandolin construction. The instrument is tuned a fifth below a mandolin with the strings in pairs from tenor A through D and G to bass C. The pickup is an Artec Vintage with a simple circuit with a volume control. The mandocaster, finished in high gloss, has a good action and produces a bright sound.
The Leanne Fund has secured a five-year sponsorship deal worth £10,000 from community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust, to support their annual Point 5k fundraising event.
They were also awarded £3,000 for office equipment to help provide vital support services to young people affected by Cystic Fibrosis across the Highlands and Islands and Grampian.
This year’s 5k takes place on Saturday, June 1 and is the 10th anniversary of the event. To mark the milestone, a 10k run has also been introduced for the first time this year. More than 150 participants regularly take part in the event.
Donald John MacSween, General Manager of Point and Sandwick Trust, said: “Point and Sandwick Trust are delighted to support The Leanne Fund by sponsoring the annual Point 5k event which has grown in popularity, attracting a large number of participants of all ages, boosting health, wellbeing, happiness and community cohesion. The event has continued to raise funds for a charity that delivers a worthwhile and important service.”
Chrisetta Mitchell, Development Manager of The Leanne Fund said: “We are very grateful to Point and Sandwick Trust for this significant sponsorship which will support this year’s Point 5k and events in the future.
“The funding will allow us to plan ahead with certainty and continue to organise this popular event for years to come.
“The event always attracts a large number of runners and walkers including families and even pets, and we are very thankful to the wider community for their continued support.
“It is always a great atmosphere on the day with our focus on a fun inclusive day where everyone is welcome to take part and to join us after the event for refreshments and a raffle. This year’s competitive 10k race will add a new element to the day and we hope the community will come out and cheer on all competitors.”
Participants are asked to enter online at http://www.theleannefund.co.uk/events.html to help with organisation. Entry forms can also be picked up from The Leanne Fund office on Point Street.
Entry to the 10k is limited to 100 participants and for runners only, but walkers are very welcome to enter the 5k which is open to all the family.
The event has also been supported by Tighean Innse Gall and Point Community Council, with TIG sponsoring the inaugural 10k and the Community Council providing a trophy.
Chrisetta said: “There has been a lot of interest in this year’s event as this is the first time we have held a 10k. We have identified a new challenging route for the 10k which we hope will appeal to local runners and attract those from further afield. We hope as many people as possible will join us on June 1st for what will be an exciting day for the fund.
“The vital sponsorship from Point and Sandwick Trust will also allow us to purchase a photocopier for our busy office where the support services we offer across the Highlands and Islands and Grampian are managed.
“The support services offered by The Leanne Fund are in great demand and as the only charity providing such services in Scotland, we rely on sponsorship from organisations such as Point and Sandwick Trust and the continued support of the public to allow us to continue this valuable work.”
The Leanne Fund will host the 10th Point 5k event on June 1st with the addition of a new 10k race.
The Fund are delighted to receive funding from Tighean Innse Gall (TIG) which will support the organisation of the new 10k race taking place alongside the annual Point 5k walk/run.
A trophy for the new event has also been kindly sponsored by Point Community Council.
The annual event is the largest sporting event in Point with over 150 taking part and it is hoped that this year’s extended event will attract even more participants.
Chrisetta Mitchell, Development Manager for The Leanne Fund said: “We are so grateful to TIG for sponsoring our inaugural Point 10k and to Point Community Council for sponsoring a trophy.
“The 5k has been a great success for the last decade and we hope many people will come and support our extended event to mark the 10th anniversary.
“The support from TIG at a local level is of great assistance to us. We look forward to what will be an exciting day for the Fund.”
A spokesperson for TIG said: “We love to support local causes and recognise the great work that The Leanne Fund carries out to support young people affected by Cystic Fibrosis.
“We hope to have a number of staff running (or walking) in this event to show their support.
“Brian Chaplin, TIG’s Chairman, will be cheering on the runners and handing out the medals at the finish line. We wish the Leanne Fund the best of luck in all their future fundraising.”
You can enter the 5k and 10k events online http://www.theleannefund.co.uk/events.html
or call into The Leanne Fund office on Point Street to pick up an entry form.
The 10k event is limited to 100 participants and is for runners only.
Walkers are very welcome to enter the 5k which is open to all the family (including your dog!).