A Harris tweed designed by a six-year-old boy from Scalpay will be swinging through Edinburgh on Sunday September 16th – and it’s already raising money for charity straight from the loom.
The tweed is this week (Tuesday September 4th) being woven by Tarbert weaver Heather Campbell as a commission for an island couple taking part in the Edinburgh Kilt Walk.
Hearach Murdo Macleod and his partner Vikkie Potter are walking the kiltwalk as Team Mikkie, raising money for the Beatson Cancer Charity.
Vikkie said: “The Beatson bestows invaluable care to so many people each year. Not only does the charity provide infinite support to those affected by cancer, they also devote a considerable amount of time into research and further education in order to invest in a better future for cancer patients and their families. Having seen first-hand the work undertaken at the Beatson, we wanted to not only raise as much money as possible but also raise awareness of the extensive service this fantastic charity provides.”
Vikkie’s mum, Harris teacher Diana Mackinnon, also wanted to support the fundraising, so she set her primary 1-4 class at Sir E Scott School in Tarbert a challenge – to design a tweed which could be made into a Team Mikkie teddy for the walk.
Diana said: “We wanted to get the children involved without asking them or their parents for money, so we used a tweed design template and asked them to use felt-tips to design a tweed for Murdo and Vikkie.” The winner was chosen by the team and it was over to weaver Heather Campbell to transform the idea into a real Harris Tweed. On Friday August 24th she unveiled the winning design and by Monday 27th it was coming off the loom.
That was the day six-year-old Donnie Macleod of Scalpay found out that he was a winning tweed designer. Diana said: “I showed the class the picture of the winning design and he stared at it for a long time, then said: “That looks like mine – oh man!” He was over the moon and his mother is also really proud, as am I!”
Once fully completed and off the loom, Donnie’s Team Mikkie tartan will be passed on to Harris Tweed Teddies where a teddy will be made and will be carried on the kiltwalk. After his walk he’ll be coming home to Tarbert and will be given to Donnie as a lifetime reminder of his early start in the tweed industry.
And the tweed has been a winner all round for Team Mikkie’s fundraising. The whole length has already sold, with £5 a metre being donated to the Beatson Cancer Charity. Weaver Heather said: “A lot of tweeds do sell out, but people are still asking for this one, so there’s a good chance it will be back on the loom again for those who missed out.”
To support Murdo and Vikkie in their Kilt Walk challenge for Beatson, go to https://edinburghkiltwalk2018.everydayhero.com/uk/team-mikkie
Pictures show Donnie's felt-tip pen design and the real tweed on the loom of Heather Campbell, weaver.