Erskine, Scotland’s largest Veterans charity, hopes to hit the high notes after appointing two new ambassadors with a musical flair.

Award-winning accordionist Gary Innes and Forces sweetheart Kirsten Orsborn are the latest duo to join the Erskine ranks as they follow in the footsteps of Paralympian Scott Meenagh, broadcaster Mike Edwards, and famed advertising executive Trevor Beattie.

The multi-talented Gary Innes is a Highland born accordionist and MG Alba Scots Trad Awards ‘Instrumentalist of the Year’ winner. Gary has been performing and composing music for over two decades and is one of the founding members of award-winning Scottish super-group Mànran, which has seen him perform to worldwide acclaim.

Adding another string to his bow, Gary began presenting the longest running radio show on BBC Radio Scotland, Take the Floor, which saw him take over from the legendary Dr Robbie Shepherd MBE. In 2020 he was also given his own show on a Sunday evening on BBC Radio Scotland called, ‘Your Requests with Gary Innes’.


Photo: Gary Innes

Gary’s association with Erskine dates to 2015, when he created Scotland’s first collaborative charity folk single with a piece of music he composed called ‘Our Heroes’. The single was recorded to commemorate the 100th anniversary of WW1 Battle of Festubert by recording the very bagpipes that Lance Corporal Donald Patterson fell playing, with all proceeds being donated to Erskine.

Gary Innes said: “Growing up in Spean Bridge and going to the local primary school that sits under the watchful eyes of the Commando Monument has meant that I have always been acutely aware of the men and woman who fought for our country and the sacrifice that many have made. This awareness has only added to the honour of being asked to be an ambassador for this hugely important charity.”

Kirsten Orsborn currently serves the nation’s heroes after being officially adopted by the Royal Marines as their Forces Sweetheart in 2014. This title has seen her perform at prestigious events right across the UK and abroad, as well as for Veterans at Erskine.


Photo: Kirsten Orsborn

Hailing from South Wales, Kirsten has been a long-time supporter of Erskine and performed for the charity’s Big Picnic, in recognition of Armed Forces Day, earlier this year. This followed a previous trip to the Erskine Reid Macewen Activity Centre, where she was also given a tour of The Erskine Home in Bishopton.

Kirsten said: “I’m delighted to work with Erskine to promote the message of the charity’s tireless work in providing and caring for our nation’s Veterans. I have seen first-hand the fantastic commitment that all at Erskine have in ensuring that they provide ex-servicemen and women with the very best care and a platform to succeed in post-service life.”

Wing Commander Ian Cumming MBE, Erskine Chief Executive, said: “I am delighted to welcome both Gary and Kirsten as Erskine’s latest ambassadors. They have both been long-time supporters of our work and it is fantastic to have them on board. We are looking forward to working in partnership and continue to spread the Erskine message throughout the UK, and beyond.”


Video: Kirsten Orsborn


Photo: Gary Innes at the annual Erskine Victory Ball in October. Photo Credit: Gary Innes / Facebook