Charity instrument auction

The wide range of instruments that will go up for auction or be raffled on the night.

A PLETHORA of renovated instruments will go up for sale in a one-off charity auction on Saturday night (19 March) in Lerwick.

The Music Is A Healer event will take place at the town’s Legion venue to raise cash for CLAN and Macmillan Cancer Support.

The auction is the brainchild of Keith Neill, who plays drums with local metal outfit Ten Tonne Dozer.


The Lerwick based fibreglass technician has dedicated months to jazzing up instruments generously donated by musicians across Shetland, as well as making bespoke pieces from recycled wood.

Among the 30 items set to be auctioned or raffled are an acoustic guitar painted by local artist Dirk Robertson, a Van Halen inspired fiddle and a ukulele made from a skateboard.

There’s also electric guitars, bass guitars and drums, with Neill painstakingly giving instruments a new lease of life with a unique makeover.

The brains behind the charity auction, Keith Neill. Photo: Matt Jolly

The musician’s effervescent Ten Tonne Dozer bandmate Dave Kok will act as the auctioneer on the night.

Neill was inspired to raise funds for the charities after seeing his partner’s mother diagnosed with breast cancer last year.


The first place he turned to was one of his big loves – music – when he thought about paying tribute to the woman’s determination and strength.

Neill initially received a free piano with the view of painting it for a raffle – “but why stop there?”

“I’m utterly overwhelmed by the sheer amount of donated instruments,” he said.

“I was thinking I’d get about six, but when I started posting pictures of what I was doing and what it was in aid of then it just got bigger.


“I had to start turning down guitars because I ended up with 17 of them. I’ve never underestimated the sheer generosity of musicians and general Shetlanders though.”

Neill estimates he has spent around 423 hours in total working on the instruments – but even then, he thinks that tally is an underestimate.

The name of the event meanwhile symbolises the powerful effect music can have on individuals and communities.

“Music is very special and probably next to family the most important aspect of my life,” Neill said.

“It brings feeling to the surface, makes you want to move, comforts you, brings people together…you just feel it and I don’t know if anything else can do that in the way music does.

“Listening to music and playing music is definitely healing for the soul and mind.”

The Music Is A Healer charity auction will kick off at 7pm at the Lerwick Legion, with live music coming from Delorian, Lyall vs Murray and The Dirty Lemons.