SkyeDance are very lucky to have two well-known patrons from diverse arts and cultural backgrounds.
Born in Uig, Isle of Skye and a native Gaelic speaker. Donnie attended Portree Primary and High School whilst growing up, he then went on to attend Gray’s College of Art, Robert Gordon’s University in Aberdeen gaining his DA Honours. Furthering his education, Donnie has a PGCSE from Moray House College of Education.
Donnie has worked as an Outdoor Education Instructor (Lothian), a Residential Social Worker (Lothian), Teacher of Art and Design (Highland & Lothian), a Visual Artist (Edinburgh) and is a very well known Professional Musician, known best for his role in Internationally successful Scottish Rock Band Runrig. Donnie is also currently writing, recording and performing as a solo artist.
Donnie has written as a Guest Columnist for: The Guardian, Scotsman, Press and Journal, Glasgow Evening Times, West Highland Free Press and the Herald. He has also presented for BBC TV,STV and Grampian TV and BBC Radio.
- Rector of the University of Edinburgh 1991-94
- Chair of General Council 1991-94
- First Rector of UHIMI 1997-2000
- Chair of UHI Foundation 1997-2000
- Member of Board of PNE (National Gaelic Arts Agency)
- Founding Member of ICC (Columba Initiative)
- Patron of Scottish Child’s Psychotherapy Trust
- President of the Highland Society for Blind People
- Patron of MYPAS
- Member of Ministerial Advisory Group on the Arts
- Member of Ministerial Advisory Group on ICT Implementation
- Chair of Tobar an Dualchais National Digitisation Project
- Board Member of the St Columba Centre on Islay
- Board of SDTN- Scottish Drama Training Network
Currently Donnie is the Director of Development, Fundraising and the Arts at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture.
Having the Guinness World Book of Records for 632 Dholis in an event is an achievement then to have the energy and stamina to play the dhol Non-Stop for 53hrs then having 2552 dancers in one venue in it self is an inspiration to many.
Gurcharan has endless numbers of accolades and awards to his name. His recent awards are: – Her Majesty Royal honours “British Empire Medal”, The Panjabi Arts Council UK & Sahib Sewa Society Honoured his 50 years Golden Jubilee on-going Contribution to Panjabi music arts, 50yrs on-going contribution award, 7 Lifetime Achievement Awards from 7 different organisations (1 for Introducing the Dhol Worldwide), House of Commons “Punjabi Cultural award”, ITV Arts Leadership Midlander of the year, Best Dhol Team – UK Bhangra Awards, Bharat Parvasi Divas Award N.R.I India, Excellence Award by Global Punjabi Society UK –Glory of India Award, N.R.I Hind Rattan Award India, Community Excellence Award (BCABA), 2 Best Personalities of the Year Awards Asian Pop Awards & BBC Radio Derby UK and Best Dholi from Panjabi Academy Leicester, the list is endless.
TV Appearances & Performances include BBC mad about music,, Britian’s Got Talent, Goodness Graces Me, Bob Geldof’s “LIVE 8”, Jim Davidson’s -The Generation Game (2 times), Cilla Black’s – Surprise Surprise, Opening Ceremony of Commonwealth Games (Manchester), NEWS – BBC, ITV and BBC SKY, Here & Now Asian tv show, Doordurshan Punjab India, The BBC Pebble Mill Show, Eurovision Song Contest, Blue Peter, Don & Dusti, Laddu & Jalabbi, Bollywood or Bust, Zee TV, BritAsia TV, Pukaar News, Venus TV, Kanshi TV, Akaal Channel, Sikh Channel, KTV, MA TV.