Five Scots musicians who made a positive difference

Carey Lander, keyboardist with Camera Obscura, helped raise thousands for research into osteosarcoma.
Carey Lander, keyboardist with Camera Obscura, helped raise thousands for research into osteosarcoma.
Share this article
Have your say

MUSICIANS are often painted as vainglorious individuals, but many have used their talents to give something back. As the late Carey Lander’s fundraising campaign for osteosarcoma nears £70,000, we look at other songwriters who have made a difference.


Midge Ure. Picture: Jane Barlow

Midge Ure. Picture: Jane Barlow

Whether you enjoy hearing Do They Know It’s Christmas? every December or not, there is no denying the positive impact it made following its release in 1984. Co-written and co-produced by Ure, the single raised more than £8 million for Ethiopian famine relief. The song’s success inspired several other musical charitable projects, including the Live Aid series of concerts, and has been re-recorded and re-released on three separate occasions. Ure, who was born in Cambuslang, also serves as an ambassador for Save the Children.


The death of the Camera Obscura keyboardist and backing singer on October 11 prompted tributes from around the world. Lander, who was born on England’s southcoast, was a member of the Glasgow-based band for 13 years. She was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare and aggressive form of bone cancer, in 2011, and was frustrated at how little progress had been made in treating the condition due to its relative rarity and lack of profile. The 33-year-old established a JustGiving fundraising page in the months before her death to support Sarcoma UK, the only charity in the UK dedicated to fighting it.To date, the appeal has raised more than £66,000.


Cooper, drummer in Dundee-based post-rock titans Laeto, passed away from cancer aged 36 in 2014. By then he had already spent 18 months arranging fundraising events for Marie Curie Cancer Care to repay the charity for the treatment he had received. The most prominent of these projects was the well-received Human Is Not Alone compilation album, which brought together a variety of underground rock acts from both sides of the pond. “I very much wanted this to be a compilation of bands that I had enjoyed live and that would remind me of my time in music” Cooper told The Skinny in 2013.


The Reid brothers are long-term promoters of the Kilmarnock-based Lighthouse Foundation, a support group for families affected by addiction. “The passion and intelligence shown by the people who work here towards the kids really appealed to us,” Charlie told Look to the Stars. “Drugs can become a way of life, and the fallout for the entire family is devastating.” The Proclaimers have also supported a number of other good causes throughout their career, which spans four decades. In 2008, the duo played a benefit gig in Dunfermline on behalf of local youngster Ivan McGraw, who suffers from severe autism. The funds allowed the eight-year-old to travel to Florida for therapy.


The singer-songwriter, who died at the age of 64 last week, was known for hits such as I Won’t Let You Down, I Should Have Known Better and Hi Ho Silver. Diamond, who grew up in the east end of Glasgow, was a prominent supporter of the Cash for Kids charity appeal, working alongside his friend Sir Tom Hunter. Diamond compiled an album of soul covers featuring various Scottish musicians, City Of Soul, in 2011, with all proceeds going to Cash For Kids.