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Nairn Ceilidh Group excited to make return to community and arts centre with opening night proceeds going to help the citizens of Ukraine

By Donald Wilson

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Donald Wilson and Dougie Gray. Picture: Callum Mackay
Donald Wilson and Dougie Gray. Picture: Callum Mackay

THE ever-popular Nairn summer ceilidhs will make a return on Thursday of next week (June 30) with proceeds on the opening night dedicated to providing help to the citizens of Ukraine.

After two years of Covid the Nairn Ceilidh Group is excited about restarting its programme at Nairn Community and Arts Centre.

“When we ended our season in August 2019 we played to packed houses at the centre, and little did we realise what was ahead of us with the pandemic,” group chairman Donald Wilson said.

“We had to be patient and sit it out although we helped organise online ceilidhs from the community centre with artistes performing observing strict Covid protocols, and these were thoroughly enjoyed as people had to spend months in their homes isolating during the height of the pandemic.”

In terms of what is planned for the in-person return he said: “Some of our bands are smaller in number because some members were unable to practice and to a degree we have restructured the programmes, with fewer artistes.

“But they will be no less enjoyable, with lots of dancing and singing for the public to enjoy.

“We are also introducing a special raffle to be drawn for people who come to our first ceilidh wearing tartan. They will get a ticket and go in a draw for a wee prize.

Sadly the committee lost one of its stalwart members, Donnie Ralston, during the pandemic.

“I’ve no doubt all our thoughts will be with Donnie’s family especially on the opening night,” Mr Wilson said. “His partner Maiken of course is still on our committee and we share her loss.

“Another sad loss has been that of Babs Haines who has been a regular at the ceilidhs since the early days over 30 years ago at the Washington Hotel. The committee will give some thought to how we can maybe mark their contribution to the Ceilidh Group in different ways as a participating member and a supporter.”

He added: “We are dedicating the first ceilidh of the season to aid for Ukraine. A local lady, Iryna Polovska, has been raising funds for medical and food supplies and many local groups and businesses have already helped. We have all been moved by the plight of people suffering and want to do our bit to help.”

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