Duncan MacInnes, one of the founding promoter members of The Touring Network, was honoured with an MBE in the New Year Honours 2019 List for his services to the arts and natural environment on the Isle of Skye.  Massive congratulations for this prestigous accolade, we are proud that he is a member and continues to support Rural Arts as part of The Touring Network.

Full Press Release:

Duncan MacInnes, rural events promoter, was honoured with an MBE in the New Year Honours 2019 List for his services to the arts and natural environment on the Isle of Skye. Duncan lives in Sleat with his wife Polly.

“I am delighted to receive this honour and am grateful to those in the community who made it happen. It is wonderful to be rewarded for something I thoroughly enjoy doing.” Duncan added “I am doubly pleased that the citation covers both the arts and natural environment. I am but one of many, so I will raise a glass to all rural arts promoters and all Countryside Rangers.”

Born in Hertfordshire of a Skye father, Duncan came to live in Sleat when a teenager. He completed a degree at Cambridge in Engineering and Geomorphology and spent a year abroad volunteering in Lesotho. In 1976 he started work at the new Clan Donald Centre at Armadale Castle on Skye and eventually was trained as the first Countryside Ranger on the estate, and the first in the Hebrides. It was here he began promoting performing arts events in his spare time.

In 1991, Duncan turned free-lance but realised there was a receptive audience for performing arts locally. He said: “We had a very good local audience by then and so a group of people set up SEALL – Skye Events for All – with me. 28 years and almost 2,000 events later, SEALL is now a major force in the Scottish rural touring scene.”

Duncan was a founder Director and the Administrator for the Promoters Arts Network across the Highlands and Islands in the 1990s. He sat on various funding committees for the old Scottish Arts Council and wrote the Don’t Panic Pack for the National Rural touring Forum. This was adapted into a printed book for Scottish rural promoters.

Norman Gillies, former director of Sabhal Mor Ostaig, said: “In my twenty-five years at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig I got to know Duncan well and I am full of admiration for what he has achieved for the Sleat community over many years.

“He is a creative, intelligent and caring individual and, whilst he would be the last to seek kudos for what he has made a life’s work in community service, he is more than deserving of public recognition.

“He also has enough chutzpah to present the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs with a book of Gaelic erotic verse on the occasion of her opening the new SEALL offices.”

This is the third time Duncan has been recognised for his services to the community and performing arts. In 2017, he was given a Highly Commended Special Award from the National Rural Touring Forum. He was also inducted into the 2018 Hands Up for Trad Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame.


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