Aileen’s colourful calendars boost charities

Aileen Gillies with her first two charity calendars

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Her style has been favourably compared to that of no less an artistic figure than John Lowrie Morrison.

High praise indeed, and it is easy to see where the similarity lies with the vibrant work of Jolomo in the images captured by budding amateur photographer Aileen Gillies.

And she is putting her talents to good use, having raised thousands for charity already this year, at a time when fundraising has been difficult.

Duntrune Castle, by Aileen Gillies

Though a keen snapper, work commitments meant that Lochgilphead resident Aileen rarely got the chance to take many pictures. Then lockdown happened, and it was when out taking the government’s permitted exercise that Aileen’s innate talent had the chance to blossom.

As her collection of images from Mid Argyll and beyond grew, Aileen decided back in the spring to put together a charity calendar – and it flew off the shelves, rapidly raising £1,000 for the Macmillan suite at Mid Argyll Hospital.

Aileen, originally from Ford, explained: ‘The Macmillan unit looked after my mum three years ago before she died and they were also great with dad and I.

‘I always said I would do something to thank them and I thought this was a good time as they must be missing out from donations from funerals.’

Aileen didn’t stop there, and it was a visit to Tarbert post office over the summer which led her to take photos of the scenic fishing village – which then became the Summertime Tarbert calendar.

By Monday this week, Aileen’s calendar sales had raised over £3,000 for the Macmillan unit.

‘Delighted that my fundraising total for the Macmillan Unit at the Lochgilphead hospital has today hit the £3020.00 mark,’ she said on Sunday through her Facebook page. ‘Plus I have calendars left and I think people are starting Christmas present buying.’

Kintyre charity Shopper Aide will also benefit from Aileen’s photographic talents, from the proceeds of a third calendar created from striking photos taken during a visit to Glencraigs Farm, Campbeltown, featuring sunflowers, poppies and wildflowers.

With a photo selected to be included in the 2021 Harbro calendar and high hopes of catching the eye of VisitScotland’s Instagram account, Aileen has plans to expand as she gains experience.

She explained: ‘My style has changed a bit as I am now editing and bringing the colours out more – and a friend joked that I will be the new Jolomo.’

‘With the calendars’ success I decided to do cards, which can be bought in the Courtyard, Inveraray and the Argyll Gift Company in Tarbert.’

A website is in development and with the calendars’ success Aileen decided to do cards, which can be bought in Dunbeg Stores, Taynuilt Post Office, Courtyard, Inveraray, and the Argyll Gift Company in Tarbert.

Find out more on Aileen’s Facebook page; email or call her on 07825 291614.