The words ‘culture’ and ‘crawl’ are not often used together, but in the case of cancer support charity Maggie’s, Culture Crawl has been an annual event in London for 10 years now. On Friday 25th September, Culture Crawl is coming to Edinburgh for the first time. I am blogging about this because I am a board director for Maggie’s – plus I am taking part in this unique event, which will take participants round some of Edinburgh’s hidden cultural gems ….
Limited to 400 participants, Edinburgh’s Culture Crawl is a 10 mile evening walk between eight buildings, with a little something “happening” at each venue. The event starts from Fettes College – the first of ten venues. Alexander McCall Smith, one of Edinburghs best loved authors, will officially start the walkers off. Here is the route in full …
Mr McCall Smith has played a guiding role in the development of Edinburgh’s Culture Crawl and its curation. He spoke about it in the Scotsman a few weeks ago, so I know it is going to be a great night. Here is a little on what I have to loo forward to:
Fettes College: One of Edinburghs’ leading public schools, Fettes has many well known old boys, with Tony Blair its most famous. such is the magnificence of Fettes, it also provided the inspiration for the creation of Hogwarts in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series and was James Bonds’ old school in Ian Fleming’s well loved 007 spy series.
The Scottish Malt Whisky Society: One of our leading exports and exported all the world over, malt whisky is synonymous with Scottish culture. There are several thousand malt whiskies made in Scotland and I am looking forward to seeing what the Society is all about.
The Scottish National Portrait Gallery: Housing portraits of famous and acclaimed Scots, this is one of the three national galleries in Edinburgh.
Carlton Hill: After Edinburgh Castle and Arthurs Seat, Carlton Hill is probably the next most prominent feature on the Edinburgh skyline. It is home to a number of buildings and monuments including National Monument, Nelson’s Monument, the Old Royal High School, the Robert Burns Monument and the City Observatory.
Parliament House: Before Scotland joined England to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707, this is where Scottish government sat. It is now home to the Supreme Courts of Scotland.
Dovecote Studios: Former Victorian swimming baths, the Dovecote studios is now a centre of excellence and gallery for tapestry and textiles in art. I am particularly loping forward to visiting this venue as I went to textile college in Galashiels.
Summer Hall: Site of the original “Dick Vet School”, Edinburgh University’s Veterinary College, Summer Hall is now a “creative hub for the arts with studio and workshop spaces”. This is a venue with a personal connection – my late father was a vet and he trained in the building.
Clydesdale Bank Plaza: This is a new square in Lothian road opposite the Usher Hall and has been the site of a number of arts related events. I am not sure what is planned for Culture Crawl, but I will report after the event!
National Gallery of Modern Art: One of the other National Gallery that Culture Crawl is including on the route. this venue has a personal connection to Maggie’s. Charles Jencks, Maggie’s widow designed the lawn in front of the gallery “which comprises a stepped, serpentine-shaped mound complemented by crescent-shaped pools of water.”
Maggie’s Edinburgh: Maggie Keswick Jencks was diagnosed with cancer in May 1993 and immediately after being told, she had no where to go. Just a hospital corridor. Maggie’s lived long enough to get her vision activated and provide the people of Edinburgh with somewhere to go – Maggie’s Edinburgh – next to the oncology unit at the Western General Hospital…
There are now 14 Maggie’s in the UK, with another 8 in development, due to open in the next twelve months or so. There is also a Maggie’s in Hong Kong.
As well as providing a place to go, Maggie’s works because of what it does at these beautiful centres:
“Maggie’s offers free practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer and their families and friends.”
Why I support Maggie’s
When I returned to the UK last year, I hadn’t heard of Maggie’s. But I did know about the devastating effects of cancer though friends that have suffered. And I did know about hanging around hospitals and how alien it can be when you need some support during uncertain times. Last week however, I discovered the husband of an old school friend still uses Maggie’s in Inverness after his own battle a couple of years ago. I asked him why and his answer pretty much confirms Maggie’s vision – “Its a bit of a luxury – all cancer support workers have been great, but they only have so much time to spend with you. At Maggie’s you don’t have that – it is a place to go and they have time to spend with you.”
Maggie’s Centres take resource to run and regular fundraising and awareness is essential to keep the doors open for those that need a place to go. I know they make a difference, which is why I support Maggie’s.
How you can support Maggie’s
Sponsor me – I’m walking 10 miles on a Friday night! You can do so on my just giving page:
Take part! There are still a few places left and it promises to be a great evening for a good cause:
Get involved and volunteer or fundraiser your nearest Maggie’s:
Become a patron:
I’ll report back once I have completed Maggie’s Culture Crawl Edinburgh 2015, along with photos etc. If you have any questions at all on Culture Crawl Edinburgh 2015, either call the organisers at Maggie’s or leave a comment and I will reply!