Skipinnish backs casino charity night in baby’s memory

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Super group Skipinnish is supporting an Oban fundraiser in memory of a baby who died from a little-known genetic disease.

Photographer Stephen Lawson, who was at Oban Live, told band members about five-month-old Rebecca Aitken who died in New Zealand in December, devastating her parents Jaki Aitken and Alex Johnson who are from the town.

Instead of getting paid for his professional photographs, he asked them to donate merchandise instead.

Rebecca’s grandparents Edwina and Hugh Aitken have just received a bundle of Skipinnish goodies including hoodies and CDs as prizes at a casino night they are organising with supporters at Soroba House on Saturday July 28.

Mr Lawson also approached Skerryvore playing at Oban Live to donate two of their CDs to the cause.

Rebecca died in December from Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) – a disease most people have never heard of. Friends and family in Oban set up a fundraising and awareness campaign in her memory to help ensure the condition gets better known.

Money from the casino night will be donated to the SMA Trust to raise awareness and help researchers find a cure. The  trust needs £1.3 million to fund a three-year research programme.

Mrs Aitken said: ‘We’re hoping for a big Oban turnout on the night. There’s still plenty tickets left. Getting people’s support means so much to us. We hope it will help save lives.’

One in every 40 people are carriers of SMA. If both parents are carriers it means there is a one in four chance of their baby being born with the disease. Ninety five per cent of babies diagnosed with it never see their second birthday.

The disease means babies can’t produce the protein needed to build muscle. Some will never walk, talk, crawl or sit up. They will never be able to support the weight of their own head which means most of them spend their short lives on their backs. They can’t swallow. A common cold is fatal.

Tickets for the casino night cost £10, which includes £10 ‘free’ money. People can buy tickets for the event and the raffle at Specsavers or the Made In Argyll shop in Oban, or email Kayleigh at

To find out more about The SMA Trust and how to support it, go to