Tragedy-hit mums auction signed guitar for charity

Madelaine Cave and Gill Cowe with the guitar being auctioned. Picture: Neil Hanna

Madelaine Cave and Gill Cowe with the guitar being auctioned. Picture: Neil Hanna

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TWO mothers brought together by the loss of their babies and a love of music are auctioning a guitar signed by 11 leading players in a bid to raise hundreds for newborns who need special care.

Singer and radio presenter Madelaine Cave, who was caught up in the Mortonhall baby ashes scandal, has joined forces with Gill Cowe, who runs charity Rockin for Tots, an organisation she set up with her husband, Andy, after they lost their twin daughters 15 years ago.

The pair met through a Facebook support group set up by Sands Lothian, a bereavement charity for parents whose babies are stillborn or live very short lives.

When Madelaine heard about Rockin for Tots she decided she wanted to help. Using her contacts she convinced leading rock guitarist and composer – and the Antiques Roadshow guitar expert – Paul Brett to get involved.

He persuaded guitar firm John Hornby Skewes to donate a Vintage Viator acoustic travel guitar worth around £200 – and then had it signed by ten other leading musicians including Steely Dan’s Elliott Randall, Lindisfarne’s Ray Jackson, Bad Company’s Dave Colwell, 
Saxon’s Graham Oliver, Fairport Convention’s Jerry Donahue, John Verity of Argent, as well as Gordon Giltrap, John Etheridge and Ben Smith.

“The guitar is up for auction on eBay and for people who know their guitarists – be they folk, jazz, rock or classical – the roll call of signatures on it is amazing,” said Madelaine, who sings with folk band Tomfoolery and is a volunteer presenter on East Lothian’s Radio Saltire.

“The actual guitar is not hugely expensive but the addition of the names really makes it priceless. We hope it will raise a lot of money and couldn’t be more grateful to Paul for getting everyone on board.”

She added: “Getting together with Gill and Andy and feeling able to do something positive has been the only good thing that has come out of losing my child – and the horrors I’ve had to go through again with what happened at Mortonhall.”

Madelaine’s daughter, Meghan, died of an undiagnosed heart condition at just 15 days old in 1994. She found out two years ago that her baby’s ashes may well have been buried at Mortonhall, despite staff telling her at the time there would be no remains after cremation.

The scandal was uncovered by Sands Lothians – and it was through that organisation that she met Gill and Andy. The couple from Tranent lost their twins Robyn and Erin in 2000.

Rockin for Tots – which is also holding a fundraising gig with Whitesnake’s Bernie Marsden at the Voodoo Rooms on September 28 – received official charity status this year.

• The Paul Brett Signature Vintage Viator travel guitar is being auctioned on eBay and bids close at 8.30pm on Wednesday.