A modest bid to raise £50 for Bethesda by raffling a special edition bottle of Harris Gin – only one – has run away with itself over the past couple of days – with £4360 pledged so far. (7pm Monday September 14)
It was the brainchild of Mairi 'Ord' Mackenzie of Soval who says: "I was one of the lucky ones who successfully secured a Cèilidh bottle of Harris Gin from the first batch released. After seeing the demand for these beautiful handcrafted bottles I thought I would put that demand to good use and raise some funds for Bethesda.
"I am giving one lucky person the opportunity to get their hands on this bottle for a £5 donation to Bethesda.
"Many island families will understand the vital service offered by the Bethesda Hospice, from personal experience I couldn't have managed without them when my husband was dying. So please share this page with all your friends and let's make a difference.
"For every £5 donation I will enter your name into the raffle which will be drawn at 7pm on Saturday 19th September.
"How many bottles are available? Currently only one - as all stock sold out by midday today and will not be available again until the 22nd September.
"How do you make sure your name is in the draw? You can donate anonymously, but you need to check the box stating you are happy for your details to be shared with me ... or else I won't know who you are!
Donations are through a JustGiving page – https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ceilidhgin
And some runners-up prizes have been donated as well including one from ceramicist Rupert Blamire who created what the Isle of Harris Distillery describe as "a very special object to embody the spirit of The Harris Cèilidh, made by hand with craft and care, a rare thing and rather limited in nature."
The distillery says of the new product: "It is designed to be given and shared with others, providing a unique new way to socially connect, even at a safe social distance.
"Each one is glazed in the beautiful colours of our island's sea and sky, with wonderfully tactile patterning. At a half-standard 350ml in size, The Cèilidh Bottle is ideal to present and pour, helping to better enjoy an evening among old friends and family.
"Send to loved ones and arrange to join them for a drink and a cèilidh online. Or, simply to let them know you’re missing their good company.
"Or, perhaps just procure a bottle for yourself, and enjoy and refill again and again as you take it to gatherings of your own.
"The bottle is also presented in a carefully designed box which carries a simple guide to creating your own cèilidh, and holds three postcards from Harris to send to others, inviting them to reconnect and join The Harris Cèilidh with you, too."
The fundraising is in memory of Mairi's husband Michael who passed away on the 23rd December 2019 after being diagnosed with the tumour Glioblastoma Mutliforme in January 2018.