Special People

People who have gone Above and Beyond in their support to the IWSF;

JACK ELLIS

 

In 1986 ex Borders Scot Jack Ellis found himself living in East Cowes and missing his passion – Scottish Fiddling. Jack missed his music so much that he resolved to do something about it, and hence Sunday nights at Jack and Betty’s bungalow soon came alive with the sound of fellow ex-pat Scots and others playing Strathspeys, Jigs and Reels, and hence the Isle of Wight Scottish Fiddlers were formed. The evenings were nothing formal, the players were just “fiddling for fun” and the playing was then followed up with mountains of sandwiches, scones, cakes, and endless cups of tea or coffee – the beginning of a tradition which has continued to the present day.

As a result of the passion exuded by Jack, the over the top welcome afforded to all, and the fun experienced by the players, the message soon spread and the group continued to grow. It soon outgrew Jack and Betty’s bungalow and had to move to the local Scout Hut, but it wasn’t very long before the group had outgrown that too and moved into the Church Hall.

One of Jack’s other great passions was sailing. So the first public concert in early 1987 was a fundraiser for the RNLI, and hence another long lasting tradition of fundraising was set in place.

Ultimately, the separation from their family back in Scotland proved too much for them, and Jack and Betty moved back to be closer to them. Jack did not however forsake his beloved fiddling, for he carried on playing with the Borders Strathspey & Reel Society.

GEORGE DAWSON REID

 

George and his wife Jean were close friends with Jack Ellis and his wife Betty, he was also a keen amateur fiddler and it did not take much persuasion from Jack for George to become one of the first members of the new group – this was despite the fact that he only played by ear and could not read music! George did however learn to read it.

George was born on 18th October 1925 in the “Granite City” of Aberdeen

After several years of players just coming together and playing informally, and following the departure of Jack Ellis, it was decided that a more structured management of the Isle of Wight Scottish Fiddlers was required and George became its Chairman. In 2005 George stood down as Chairman but was unanimously elected President in recognition of all his work and dedication to the group.

Throughout his 24 years membership George worked tirelessly to promote the group whilst at the same time ensuring that its founding values were kept intact.

George – a truly lovely man, sadly passed away on 11th December 2010.

JEAN REID

 

 

Jean (Eliza) Reid – George’s wife, was born in Lisburn on 4th January 1932. Notwithstanding her Northern Irish roots, Jean has always been passionate about traditional Scottish music and she was there at George’s side when the Isle of Wight Scottish Fiddlers were formed – not as a player but as a helper.

A great feature of the ‘Fiddlers is the social side and camaraderie. This is in no small measure due to Jean, who among other things, has taken care of organising all our refreshments and other catering needs since the first days of the group. Over this period Jean’s cheese scones have become legendary and much sought after by the members.

Everyone’s birthday is duly captured and noted in her little black book, so that at the rehearsal nearest a Fiddler’s birthday there is always a cake with which to celebrate.

Whenever flowers need to be sent, or a get well card, or special congratulations are needed, Jean’s built-in “radar” can always be relied upon to highlight the requirement.

In May 2011 and in recognition of her commitment and services to the group, Jean was made the lifelong President of the Isle of Wight Scottish Fiddlers.


CLIVE RICKARDS

 

 

A couple of months after the foundation of the Isle of Wight Scottish Fiddlers the group had grown to a sizeable band of ‘Fiddlers and they felt they needed someone to direct proceedings. Maurice Quinn (one of several original founding members) approached Clive and asked him if he was prepared to take on the role – which he did. 

After 5 years at the “helm” Clive decided it was time to move on to do other things. But then in 1998, the band had been booked to play at the Ventnor Winter Gardens – and there was no one to direct them. George Reid approached Clive and cajoled him and managed to finally persuade him to come back just for that one concert. That one concert turned out to be a continuous run through until December 2013 when Clive decided to finally hang up his bow and retire.

Throughout his tenure as Music Director Clive honed the band to a very high standard and sound – all achieved without ever having to raise his voice, or shout when things did not work out at the ninth or tenth attempt!

Clive’s lasting legacy to the group is his extensive portfolio of traditional fiddle music. Whilst for the most part this is Scottish and dating back to the 17th century, there is also an eclectic selection of traditional tunes from outside of Scotland and other parts of the world as well. From two loose leaf folders of music in the late 1990’s, the portfolio grew by 2013 to 6 bound volumes of professionally presented music with a large percentage of the tunes having been specially arranged for the group by Clive.

It is most definitely with thanks to the drive and passion exuded by Clive that the Isle of Wight Scottish Fiddlers has lasted as long as it has.

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