Published: 12/02/2016 16:37 - Updated: 12/02/2016 16:37

Singer takes a look at the children's unit

Written byVal Sweeney

Laura Mackintosh, of the ARCHIE Foundation Marti Pellow, staff nurse Jim Sweeney and project manager Gordon Williamson.
Laura Mackintosh, of the ARCHIE Foundation Marti Pellow, staff nurse Jim Sweeney and project manager Gordon Williamson.

Love was definitely all around Raigmore Hospital when Wet Wet Wet star Marti Pellow made a surprise visit to check out progress on the new children’s unit.

The Scottish singer delighted young patients and their parents with his easy-going banter when he toured the existing ward and posed with staff for photographs.

Mr Pellow, whose band enjoyed 15 weeks at number one in 1994 with Love Is All Around, was then given a sneak preview of the new unit which is set to open its doors in two months.

The ambitious project is being made possible thanks to overwhelming public support for the £2 million Highland Children’s Unit Appeal launched by the ARCHIE Foundation in conjunction with the Inverness Courier.

The visit was arranged by appeal board member David Sutherland following a conversation with the singer during a stay at one of his holiday properties in the area.

"The opportunity was offered to me to have a look where they are up to with the work," said Mr Pellow, who began training as a painter and decorator as a youngster before going into the music industry.

"It was a no brainer to come along to lend a bit of support to this quest for the kids.

"For a single ward it has the biggest catchment area for the whole of the UK and so to see what the facilities are like now and what they are aiming to achieve sounds extremely exciting."

Mr Pellow, originally from Clydebank, revealed he had been taking a few days off after doing some filming for a private project and having finished some theatre work.

"What better part of the world to come to?" he said. "I have always been a fan of the area.

"I thought it would be nice for me to spend time doing some writing and have some time off from projects I am working on.

"I like it up here. It is very idyllic and very private. I like a destination where there are not too many distractions and I can go for walks and seek inspiration.

"There are so many wonderful walks here and across at Applecross and on the coastal routes. It has the best scenery Scotland has to offer."

Mr Pellow, who appeared in Blood Brothers at Eden Court in Inverness last year, is set to return to the area next month when Wet Wet Wet appear in concert at Inverness Leisure Centre.

He was shown around the new unit by Morrison Construction project manager Gordon Williamson who said the work is due to be completed by the end of March.

"All these guys on site are passionate about it and we have been working seven days a week from November," he said. "They are putting in the hours and are really proud of it."

Mr Sutherland explained how Mr Pellow’s visit came about. "It was just a simple conversation along the lines of, ‘what are you up to?’," he said.

"I told him about us being on the final lap of raising £2 million and he showed some interest."

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