Highland-born accordionist and broadcaster Gary Innes has been lifting spirits for hundreds of people during lockdown with some specially recorded personal messages for fans and their loved ones.
Born in the village of Spean Bridge in the North of Scotland, Gary is one of the founding members of award-winning Scottish supergroupMànran, as well as the presenter for BBC Radio Scotland’s longest running radio show, Take the Floor.
Gary was inspired to start recording messages for people after launching the Take The Floor – Your Requests show which calls for people to give a shout out to friends and family around the world who they can’t see in person during the current pandemic.
Since then, Gary has been inundated with hundreds of video requests, from wedding and anniversary messages of congratulations to birthday tunes and dedications.
In just two weeks Gary has recorded around 100 personalised messages for people from around the world including Canada, Australia, Spain and Germany, all in the name of raising a smile during the coronavirus crisis and bringing families and friends together in the process.
The award-winning instrumentalist has appeared in countless family zoom calls, bringing a surprise element to their celebration.
He even managed to give one pair of newlyweds a first dance they won’t forget. A couple in Germany were unable to hold a wedding reception, so their sister arranged for Gary to surprise them and perform their first wedding waltz on a live video call.
Gary Innes said: “Not being able to see friends and family and go to all the usual celebrations like birthday parties and weddings has been hard for lots of us and I wanted to do something that let people give their loved ones an extra special message at a time when they had hoped to be celebrating together.
“The response has been just brilliant and there’s been so many really touching moments. It’s been a lot of fun but also very rewarding. One especially poignant message for a son and father who were unlikely to see each other again was something I’ll never forget.
“Music and celebrating with loved ones are two things which mark good times and also help a lot of us through hard times, so it’s really nice to bring these together and do a little something to lift people’s spirits just now. It’s a wee reminder that we are thinking of and are there for another – something that’s particularly important just now as we mark Mental Health Awareness Week.”
Gary is still creating as many videos as he can for people and is calling on anyone who feels that a personal video would help lift the spirits of a family member or friend during these difficult times to get in touch with him via social media.
Whether they’re looking for a couple of tunes for a special occasion or for him to play something for someone who can’t leave the house – Gary is planning to raise as many smiles as he can.