Internationally acclaimed author Alexander McCall Smith CBE and a talented young Edinburgh composer are joining forces to announce their first joint creative collaboration.

Alexander has written a poem inspired by the Olympic gold medalist Eric Liddell who was the hero of the film Chariots of Fire. He will recite his new work at an online event on 26 November to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Eric Liddell Centre (ELC) which is named after the famous Scottish Olympian.

A talented young composer, Alexander McNamee, a pupil at George Watson’s College, has set the new poem to music in a vocal piece which will be performed at a later date when restrictions allow.

The two Alexanders will come together to join the other stars supporting the online broadcast of the ELC’s 40th anniversary.

The centre is an Edinburgh based care charity and community hub, providing specialist dementia support together with a Carers Programme and Befriending Service.

Alexander McCall Smith has a close relationship with the ELC as he has been a patron since 2012,

Commenting on the upcoming 40th anniversary, Alexander said:

“The Eric Liddell Centre enjoys a special place in the affections of the people of this city. It is very much in the spirit of the man after whom it is named, and I am sure that there will be many people who will wish to join me in celebrating its achievements.”

Following national guidelines linked to COVID-19, the ELC made the decision to go ahead with the anniversary celebration online.

The virtual event will feature an exciting range of internationally renowned speakers including Sally Magnusson and world-famous Scottish composer and conductor Sir James MacMillan.

Joining in via a link from her home in Canada, Eric Liddell’s daughter Patricia Liddell Russell will also participate to talk about her inspirational father.

John MacMillan, Chief Executive of the Eric Liddell Centre said,

“I am so pleased that Alexander, Sally Magnusson and my brother Sir James have kindly agreed to participate in our 40th Anniversary Celebration. I’m delighted that the exceptionally talented young composer, Alexander McNamee, will also join us via a video link and discuss his new composition.

“I am very proud of the Eric Liddell Centre and all that it stands for. It will be a wonderful evening broadcast via Zoom and provides me with the opportunity to celebrate the work and achievements of the centre over the last 40 years and the dedicated team who work here.”

The 40th Anniversary Celebration takes place on Thursday 26th November at 7.00pm virtually via Zoom. Tickets cost £40 per log on and are available to book via Eventbrite by visiting the link:

All monies received will support the ongoing delivery of the Eric Liddell Centre’s caring services. For further information, please contact Zsofia at