Folk group Take Two might not be a household name in the music industry but through the duo’s hard work and determination their music has touched the lives of so many.
Elaine Caulfield (60) and Izzy Reid (65) formed the group 15 years ago.
Elaine played the five-row button accordion and latterly guitar, with Izzy on keyboard.
Both have lived in Linlithgow for the last 40 years and with Elaine being a keen bowler and Izzy a former tennis coach, they met at Linlithgow Sports Club and bonded through their mutual enjoyment of music.
Together they have raised thousands of pounds for local organisations and charities through Take Two.
Izzy said: “Someone would hear you playing and then it would spread by word of mouth and you would go round playing at old folks’ homes and sheltered housing.”
“We were a bit apprehensive about first playing,” admitted Elaine, “but we just loved the music. It’s snowballed from there.
“We played for patients at St Michael’s Hospital. You see them lying in their beds and their hands start going and their eyes light up and it’s wonderful.
“Or there’s people who suffer from dementia who remember every word of the Scottish songs or ones from the fifties and sixties and they are singing along but they can’t remember what they had for their dinner.
“That’s satisfaction for me seeing the music get through to people and making that connection.”
Most of the fundraising has been done by staging gigs and concerts.
But while they have generated thousands of pounds, the initial few years were tough as evidenced by a stint busking at the canal basin.
“It was windy, very windy,” Elaine recalls. “We got about £1.50. It was enough to buy us a coffee! So that wasn’t such a successful day. Did we think about giving up? Not at all we thought we have to get better than this.”
It perhaps wasn’t that surprising that this early initial set back unfazed the pair, particularly Izzy who as a former tennis coach at Linlithgow had endured testing times before when she umpired a match between Andy and Jamie Murray.
She said: “They were about seven or eight years old. Andy queried absolutely everything. You felt as if you had been through a hedge backwards by the time you finished. He was exceptionally determined.”
And Izzy’s and Elaine’s determination and persistance has paid off too as they believe they have raised over £75,000 for local organisations and charities such as Bethany Trust, Autism Scotland, River Kids and Linlithgow Sports Club plus many more during the 15 years they have been performing together.
Elaine said: “Neither of us really like talking about how much money we’ve raised as it sounds like we are boasting a bit. We think about it as looking at what can be done and just want to thank everybody who has supported us.
“Anybody can go out and do it but it’s the people who donate that actually make it.” With a number of events lined up next year, 2017 is already looking like a busy 12 months for the duo.
Izzy said: “It’s been great fun doing this and we hope to keep singing and playing for as long as possible.”