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PICTURES: Celebrating the life of founder of Highland mental health charity Mikeysline

By Val Sweeney

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Spud the Piper leads the procession in tribute to Ron Williamson, founder of Mikeysline. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Spud the Piper leads the procession in tribute to Ron Williamson, founder of Mikeysline. Picture: James Mackenzie.

The life of the man who founded Highland mental health charity, Mikeysline, has been celebrated at a memorial event in Inverness.

Ron Williamson died aged 74 in December after a long illness.

He helped set up the charity following the death of his nephew Michael "Mikey" Williamson (23) who died at his Inverness home in 2015 – two days after his friend, Martin Shaw, had also been found dead.

Tribute was paid to Ron at an event, Light up the Night, at the Waterside Glen Mhor Hotel. The Ness Bridge was also lit up in the Mikeysline colours to shine a light in his memory.

Ron Williamson founded Mikeysline in 2015.
Ron Williamson founded Mikeysline in 2015.

The memorial, led by Halde Pottinger, was attended by family, friends, Mikeysline volunteers and staff, past and present and many others who knew Ron.

It featured Highland Voices Choir whose performances included Shadow Falls and their final song, Leave the Light On.

Everyone was invited to follow Spud the Piper, who helped launch Mikeysline in 2015, along the river to the Ness Bridge.

Describing Ron as "an absolute legend", he said: "It is an honour to be asked and I wouldn’t have missed it for anything."

Mikeysline chief executive Emily Stokes said: "Light up the Night celebrated a special family man who made a lasting impression not only on those who held him dear, but also on all who knew and met him.

"Ron Williamson was, everyone agreed, one of a kind, just like the legacy he leaves behind him in the charity he founded."

Mikeysline was born in December 2015 to provide a text-for-help hotline service for people experiencing thoughts of depression, anxiety, worry or stress.

As well as providing the first crisis textline in the country, it also introduced the first crisis self-help app in Scotland and the first out-of-hours crisis drop-in centre in the Highlands – The Hive Project in Academy Street, Inverness.

It gained support from people across the Highlands as well as endorsement from Inverness-born Hollywood star Karen Gillan.

Ron's own commitment meant a regular 600-mile drive from Southampton until he handed over the reins four years ago although he kept up-to-date with developments as it continued to grow and flourish and welcomed its expansion of work into schools and local businesses.

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