Fit as a Fiddle, Robin Barr Charity Champion Finalist in Scottish Charity Awards 2019

3rd May 2019

We are delighted to announce that our local ambassador Robin Barr has been shortlisted as a Charity Champion finalist in the Scottish Charity Awards 2019.

Robin undertook his Fit as a Fiddle challenge in celebration of our 70th birthday in 2018 raising £5,000 and has raised thousands of pounds for Music in Hospitals & Care (MiHC) over the last 40 years. Walking to the seven farthest points in Orkney, Robin composed seven fiddle tunes to match the heritage of the location, linking up with musicians, artists and community members as he went.

Robin is a fantastic and captivating spokesperson for MiHC and speaks with such eloquence and passion about the transformational benefits our work brings to people accessing health care.

A natural storyteller, Robin developed a 50-minute feature on BBC Radio Scotland’s programme Musical Milestones with Jamie MacDougall, and related the progression of his Tom Weir inspired (matching hat!) 7 walks across Orkney interspersed with each of the 7 fiddle tunes he has composed. Notable islanders and members of his community joined Robin on his tour, including Orkney folk duo, Saltfishforty, representing aspects of Orkney’s artistic life and taking live music to the farthest reaches including:

1. Marwick Head
2. Ring of Brodgar
3. Brinkie’s Brae
4. Cubbie Roo’s Castle
5. Costa Head
6. Keelylang Hill
7. St John’s Head

One listener left the following comment: “I thought Robins program was really entertaining. Full of variety and really well presented. He told a great story of this fundraising. His achievement will now go on to give pleasure to many others in hospitals and care homes. On all levels well done Robin.”

Also displaying tireless enthusiastic audience participation at our live music sessions when visiting and representing us, notably leaping up to dance with whoever ventured to join him at every possible opportunity!

Robin always made heroic efforts never to miss auditions, on one occasion, catching the overnight ferry from Kirkwall to Aberdeen he used up one of his precious Orkney residents’ ticket allocation, so that he would arrive in time for auditions starting at 10am. He has unwavering commitment and dedication to the cause.

To launch his Fit as a Fiddle challenge last year, Robin organised a fundraising reception event inspiring everyone with his stories, fiddle playing and getting the full family involved with his talented daughter Rosanne Barr, a respected Scottish landscape painter, who gave a live painting demo accompanied by his live fiddle playing. He often comes up with original creative ideas and is thoughtful and generous with his time and contacts, which is very much appreciated by us and our groups and musicians whom he works alongside, he is a well-respected musician and community champion.

Robin has personally raised upwards of £10,000 and auditioned over 250 musicians since 1980, helping us to support live music sessions reaching hundreds of beneficiaries in healthcare settings and raising awareness and engaging many communities across Scotland in our work. In 2018 alone, he has featured in 7 local newspapers, 1 radio programme, 1 radio interview and filming for 1 television advert. In 2019, he has already arranged to give talks to 6 different groups including a young mothers’ group in Paisley; a University for the 3rd Age group in Fife; and, has been invited to give a one-hour performance/talk at the Stromness and Orkney Folk Festivals.

Robin applies his creativity and musicality to help others which exactly mirrors our charities purpose. On several occasions he composed pieces of music in the Scots tradition dedicated to specific individuals who were supporting the charity including the late Anne, Duchess of Westminster, whose trust supported MiHC and who was known to drive around her Sutherland estates listening to Scottish reels; and Mrs Donald Hardie who kindly hosted a reception and concert by Robin’s string quartet at Boturich Castle on Loch Lomond.

His unwavering dedication, loyalty and passion for the charity for nearly 40 years, and particularly during our birthday year in 2018 has seen a phenomenal amount of funding raised from his friends and contacts. He is a fearless and inspiring person who truly deserves to be acknowledged as a charity champion.

‘In whatever capacity Robin finds himself he never passes up an opportunity to promote MiHC and his deeply held belief in the therapeutic and transformative power of live music makes him a highly persuasive advocate, he shows personal generosity in all sorts of ways on numerous occasions and always takes care to thank all those who support him, supporting MiHC.’ (Alison Frazer, Former Chief Executive Scotland).

‘Robin has been involved with MiHC on the Scotland Committee around the time the first concert tour took place in Scotland in 1980 and when the Edinburgh office was established in 1984. He is a highly valued committee member and an exemplar volunteer and fundraiser. A very keen musician not only with his fiddle, he helps as often as he can with MiHC auditions. Robin is always willing to promote MiHC and the benefits the charity makes to people in care of all ages. (Peter Fairlie, Chair of Music in Hospitals & Care).

You can hear a snippet of Robin’s fiddle in the Orkney community here – Robin on his Fiddle!

VOTE for Robin as your Charity Champion and favourite finalist and Music in Hospitals & Care to win the People’s Choice Award!

VOTE NOW! Votes close on the 17th May 5pm

Fit as a Fiddle commences at the Tom Weir statue with Peter Fairlie (Chair of MiHC), Balmaha Bay, Loch Lomond

Tom Weir Red Hat! Walking in Orkney

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