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The sum of £1,000 has been raised for Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team in memory of Ian Bell, who died while climbing Ben Nevis, thanks a concert by the Proclaimers that also saw the band dedicate a song to the late West Herts College lecturer.
Mr Bell, 60, lost his life while walking on Ben Nevis in August 2015.
Since then his family have held two special music events in the back garden of their home in Hemel Hempstead – entitled IanFest – plus a collection at the Rex Cinema in Berkhamsted and a series of other musical gatherings in the family home to raise money for the Fort William-based rescue team.
And it was while Proclaimers brothers Craig and Charlie Reid were performing in Watford earlier this month that a collection was taken for the team by Mr Bell’s family and friends.
And in a moving tribute to him, the Reid twins also dedicated their famous hit song Sunshine on Leith to Mr Bell and his sons Oscar and Louie.
Every year since his tragic accident, Mr Bell’s family has raised funds for Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team, which searched for Mr Bell when he went missing.
Back in 2017, the family travelled to Lochaber to meet rescue team members.
Mr Bell’s widow, Julia, said her late husband had been very proud of his Glaswegian ancestry and loved the Highlands and its mountains.
She told the Lochaber Times: ‘We have not stopped playing the Proclaimers music since that Friday. The Sunshine of Leith album that belonged to Ian will be even more worn down.
‘We have the tour poster in the living room. And the Sunshine on Leith tea towel in the kitchen – perfect.
‘It was an incredible night of music, fundraising and emotion.
‘We sat in the twelfth row, side by side, holding onto Ian’s tartan scarf and waving it like we were in a football stadium, singing our hearts out to the anthems and holding onto each other.
‘There was an energy in the air … a feeling in the room that everyone was connected by the music and the moment. I felt deeply connected to Ian, his life, his presence and also his absence.
‘When Charlie announced from the stage that Sunshine on Leith was dedicated to Ian and the boys, I folded in two emotionally.
‘When he acknowledged the collection that would be taking place for Lochaber Mountain Rescue, I felt pure pride. The LMRT deserves its name to be shouted on every stage, every platform, every rooftop.
‘That moment and the gentle kindness of the Proclaimers meant everything to me. As the music began and the crowd sang, I felt deeply connected to Ian, his family and friends, the mighty Ben Nevis and the rescue team, my sons and my emotions.
‘It is our intention as a family to carry on raising funds and raising the profile of Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team. They were there for us when we needed them. They are there for so many. They are selfless. They are incredible individuals.
‘They do so much more behind the scenes and I am just delighted that we could raise £1,000 for them.
‘The Proclaimers’ endorsement of the collection, I believe, created a great wave of generosity. It’ s not often you can raise £1,000 in 30 to 45 minutes. But that’s all it took with 10 collectors, 10 buckets and a very human audience.
‘It has been a hard four years but that one moment of kindness helped lift pain and dark clouds.’