Newcastle rocker does strum-thing nice and donates free guitars to children at Christmas

Newcastle rocker does strum-thing nice and donates free guitars to children at Christmas

12 January 2022

A NEWCASTLE rock musician became Santa Claus when he gave away guitars as Christmas presents.

Guitarist Ruairi Richman, also known as Lemonade Shoelace, put the fizz into Christmas when he handed out six guitars on Christmas Eve.

The 24 year-old gave away the brand new guitars free to kids who he thought would get the benefit of them more than him and bandmates.

Ruairi visited households in Newcastle on Christmas Eve and surprised them with the gifts.

He told Belfast Live recently: “Lemonade Shoelace won the Vans Musician’s Wanted Europe competition back in September [for the song Autopilot Paradise] and we got a bunch of goodies from various sponsors of the competition.

“One of the sponsors, Kramer Guitars, had given us six guitars so I suggested to the band we donate them to youngsters for Christmas and they were all on board for it.

“We have guitars between us already and knew these kids would appreciate them much more.”

He continued: “I posted on my Instagram and on The Local – a group on Facebook – and I received an overwhelming amount of messages asking about the guitars. I had mentioned in the post that I would them all off that night and I needed to find homes for them as soon as possible.

“The post also stated that I wanted the guitars to be homed to families that have struggled in the past year and to kids that have an interest in music and therefore would appreciate the guitar a lot.

“It was hard to know for sure which families needed it the most – but I know for definite the homes the guitars went to really appreciated the gesture and will take good care of them.

“There was a Christmas card attached to the guitars too, and I added a guitar pick inside. The kids didn’t know beforehand about what was going to happen, and some of the parents didn’t even know either.

“They were all very shocked – I saw some tears of joy and some surprised faces.”

Ruairi wore a Santa hat when he visited the houses at around 8pm.

“I don’t think anyone was expecting anything like it,” he said.

“I do like to be as kind and generous as I can in any situation that arises and I believe putting kindness out into the world will come back in another form. I didn’t do this to have kindness returned to me though.”

Ruairi, who has been writing and producing under the Lemonade Shoelace name for around five years, also told how he’d love if his gesture could help spark a thriving music scene in Newcastle.

He said: “I’d really like that. I know that if the same thing happened to me when I was a kid, I would really appreciate it and it would certainly drive me to make music.

“After doing this though, many people bought me pints and I’ve even been offered a free tattoo so it’s great to see people feeling generous by seeing something generous being done.

“I’d like to encourage everyone reading this that they do a random act of kindness, think about others more often and believe in yourself because anything is possible.”

Ruairi says he would like to repeat the gesture next Christmas, but it depends on whether he can get more guitars donated to him.

“Vans and Kramer are delighted with the outcome of what happened so I’ll have to ask them very nicely to see if they can set something like this up again for next year.”

He also hopes to set up a summer music school in Newcastle in the future.

He added: “I want to give to the community I grew up in and I feel that 

music is a great gift that can be enjoyed by all.”