One-off Alexander McCall Smith poem under auction for Eric Liddell charity

Alexander McCall Smith has agreed to create the operetta to support fundraising efforts by colleagues at the Faculty of Advocates.
Alexander McCall Smith has agreed to create the operetta to support fundraising efforts by colleagues at the Faculty of Advocates.
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FANS of 44 Scotland Street author Alexander McCall Smith will be able to get their hands on a once-in-a-lifetime keepsake penned by the author at an auction on December 5.

An original poem, inspired by Olympic gold medallist Eric Liddell, will be handwritten by Mr McCall Smith and sold to the highest bidder at a fundraising gala for the Eric Liddell Centre.

Influenced by the story of Eric Liddell, a 1920s Olympic runner and Edinburgh University alumnus, Mr McCall Smith will also attend the fundraising event, and deliver a speech.

The writer said: “Eric Liddell’s story is one of the great inspiring stories of Scotland.

“I was delighted to write something about the sportsmanship and effort associated with him, especially in support of the wonderful work that the Eric Liddell Centre does.”

The event will be hosted by comic and columnist Susan Morrison. Former professional rugby player Chris Paterson MBE, on behalf of the Murrayfield Injured Players’ Foundation, will also address the audience to help raise funds for the major Edinburgh care charity and community hub.

The foundation focuses on providing support and assistance to injured Scottish rugby players but is financially and administratively independent.

John MacMillan, CEO of the Eric Liddell Centre, said: “We are delighted to hear that Alexander McCall Smith will be writing a special Eric Liddell inspired poem for our auction.

“As a patron, he has a special place for all of us here at the centre so to hear he has dedicated his time to creating such a fantastic piece of work, is humbling. We are all extremely excited about our inaugural fundraising gala, and news of the poem being up for auction adds that extra special element to the night.

“I look forward to welcoming lots of new and familiar faces to the dinner and hopefully we can all help raise money for us to keep growing and expanding the wonderful services we offer throughout Edinburgh, thanks to the Eric Liddell Centre.”

The centre specialises in care for the elderly and dementia services, with the aim of reducing social isolation and promoting independence while supporting people to remain in their own homes for as long as possible.

The day care service, for 70 people per week with dementia, is carried out by a team of highly qualified staff and experienced and skilled volunteers.

“The more money we can raise the more people we can assist,” added Mr MacMillan.

Bidders unable to make the event can still take part in the auction online, with prizes including a flight simulation experience for two, a half-day spa treat at Stobo Castle and memorabilia from the Scottish Rugby Autumn Tests.

For more information, visit www.goingforgold.ericliddell.org.

fiona.pringle@jpress.co.uk