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NewsScottish kiltmaker helps raise tens of thousands of pounds for charity after...

Scottish kiltmaker helps raise tens of thousands of pounds for charity after launching NHS tartan

A SCOTTISH kiltmaker has helped raise tens of thousands of pounds for nurses after launching an NHS tartan.

Gordon Nicolson Kiltmakers (GNK) has so far made around £65,000 in profits after releasing the blue, white and red design online last year.

The Edinburgh-based firm decided to help with the project as a thank you to health service staff for their hard work during the Covid pandemic.

The tartan was created for the NHS
The tartan has been created to raise funds for the NHS. Credit: Gordon Nicolson Kiltmakers

They teamed up with former University of Edinburgh student nurses Jaimie Smith and Georgia Duffy who helped design the print in the colours of NHS uniforms.

Lochcarron of Scotland produced the tartan while GNK worked alongside Jaimie and Georgia with the design, finishing touches and distribution.

The profits are set to be donated to the Burdett Trust for Nursing and the Edinburgh Global Nursing Initiative.

Each item comes with the nursing tartan label, giving information on the tartan itself and the charities the purchase supports.

Designs have been woven into shawls, scarfs, masks, bags and neck ties, with the products priced between £15 and £145.

The tartan has been made into shawls and ties
The kiltmaker has made several different items to be worn. Credit: Gordon Nicolson Kiltmakers

Speaking today, Gordon Nicolson, director at GNK, said: “Through the pandemic they’ve been under severe pressure and it’s a thank you from us to be able to give something back to the NHS and nurses in particular.

“In revenue we’ve done about £65,000 from that and we’re about to give that back to the nurses.”

He added: “We put all the component parts into what we believe is the best possible kilt we can make.

“The sad thing is of all the 13,000 tartans on the register, some of them will never be woven, but my idea is there’s no point registering a tartan if you’re not going to weave it.

“All the tartans we design are woven, that’s the natural process for us.”

The tartan has become an instant hit after images of the design were posted by GNK on their social media accounts.

One person said: “Greetings from Denmark, I am proudly wearing the nursing tartan scarf being a retired nurse.”

Another said: “LOVE the blues.

“In August I retire after 48 years as a nurse so I think a piece of this will make a good retirement gift to myself.”

Gordon Nicolson began his kiltmaking business in 2009 to keep traditional kiltmaking methods alive.

Before opening his first shop in Canongate, Edinburgh, he had been in the business his whole life.

He began his kiltmaking career with a Saturday job in Bowdens on Easter Road supplying kilts.

Gordon set up the Edinburgh Kiltmakers Academy in 2016 to teach his kiltmaking methods to the next generation of kiltmakers.

All the tartans the company designs are registered on the National Tartan Register alongside 13,000 other unique designs.

The tartan register boasts a number of different types of tartans from commemorative and personal to clan and more.

GNK has also designed tartans for the University of Edinburgh, Subaru America, The Jersey Boys, The Lady Boys of Bangkok, and a number of Scottish football teams.

Emma Wilkinson from Gordon Nicolson Kiltmakers said: “It has been an honour and pleasure to work with Jamie and Georgia, especially at a time where now more than ever we are aware and appreciative of all the hard work and good nurses do – where would we be without them.

“We pulled together all of our expertise and esteemed colleagues in the tartan industry to make The Nursing Tartan project a reality and will continue to do this as well as bringing new and exciting products as the story of the tartan continues.

“So far, and in a very short space of time, the response to the tartan has been phenomenal – nurses, former nurses, supporters of nurses all purchasing a product to proudly show their support. We have no doubt that this wonderful response and uptake will continue and we work hard to keep driving the tartan forward.”

Jamie Smith said: “Tartan is such a symbol of kinship which is synonymous with Scotland.

“We thought by creating this special tartan just for nurses it could help recognise their contribution – a way to support those who are always there to support us.”

Georgia Duffy added: “Capturing the essence of nurses and nursing was paramount to us on the creation of the tartan.

“Using the national uniform colours achieves this through highlighting the diversity within the workforce. Anyone can wear the tartan and we hope everyone will and can.”

Shirley Baines, Chief Executive Officer of the Burdett Trust, said: “The Burdett Trust for Nursing is thrilled to be part of this wonderful initiative from nurses to nurses.

“The tartan created by the students represents a symbol of unity for nurses across the globe.

“We are proud to be part of the philanthropic nature of this endeavour where nurses in the UK and globally will continue to be supported.”

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