A Singing Kettle legend is retiring after decades of entertaining families across Scotland and beyond.
Gary Coupland, who worked on the national institution for 30 years and then moved to its successor Funbox, is now stepping down from theatre touring after nearly 40 years in the business.
Mr Coupland won an MBE for services to children’s entertainment in 2000 and was a musician for the Scottish group.
He said: “I was part of the Singing Kettle for 30 years and Funbox for nearly six.
“As much as it’s been a pleasure and a privilege, I feel like it’s time for me to step away from life on the road, slow down and enjoy some free time for once.
“Since the start of Funbox, Kevin, Anya and I have run the company ourselves, dealing with admin during the week as well as performing.
“People ask us at our weekend performances what we do on our days off and we reply – this is our day off.
“I will miss all the people who have come to the shows over the years and supported us.
“You made going to work so enjoyable. But I’m thrilled Funbox is continuing without me.
“Thank you to all our Funboxers young and old.”
Colleague Anya Scott-Rodgers, who joined Single Kettle two years before its closure in 2015, said the group was “gutted” to lose Mr Coupland.
She said: “Naturally we’re gutted that Gary is retiring from performing with us. Funbox is our creation and it feels like the end of an era with one of the founding members leaving.
“But despite everything this year has thrown at us, Kevin and I are delighted to be carrying on with Gary’s support.”
Mr Coupland is leaving the company to spend more time with family and get everyone up dancing at weddings and parties – but will still help with the music that brings a Funbox show to life.
Kevin MacLeod, also in Funbox, said: “My musical talents go as far as the kazoo so it’s good we can still work with Gary.”
Due to the pandemic and the closure of theatres, there will be no final onstage showing from the Music Man.
But disappointed fans will be able to watch an online show coming this month called Santa’s Big Surprise.
Funbox will continue with Ms Scott-Rodgers, Mr MacLeod and Bonzo the dog as they look forward to have a fully booked 2021.
When The Singing Kettle disbanded in 2015, the three members formed Funbox after being unable to continue touring under the name following the retirement of two members in 2012.
Mr Coupland was one of the original members of the group, working as their musician and composer.
He was named alumni of the year in 2014 at his former university, Edinburgh Napier, and also studied at The London College of Music.
Formed in 1982, The Singing Kettle was awarded a Bafta for the best children’s TV programme during its time keeping generations of youngsters entertained.
As well as releasing several albums of children’s music, the group made five television series with BBC Scotland, two with STV and released several DVDs before their final curtain call.