Perhaps it was the shocking contrast. One day we were swapping presents and enjoying a meal with family. The next looking at unimaginable suffering and devastation in areas we thought of as holiday destinations.

Perhaps it was the sheer scale. Hundreds of thousands of dead made it one of the worst disasters in modern history. Whatever the reason the Tsunami in the Indian Ocean coastal areas on the morning of Boxing Day 2004 demanded some sort of human response.

The world watched television screens stunned as over the next seven hours as huge ocean waves triggered by an undersea earthquake of the coast of Sumatra in Indonesia brought death and chaos in their wake.

At least 225,000 people died in Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Maldives, East Africa and elsewhere. The need for help was massive and urgent.

I had not long been in the editors chair’ at the Sunday Herald, a new addition to the Scottish media landscape when it launched in 1999. Its founding editor Andrew Jaspan had already joined forces with the charity Concern staged a charity concert headlined by Belle and Sebastian at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow to raise funds for Africa.

The Herald: The stars on stage at the 2005 Concert for Tsunami ReliefThe stars on stage at the 2005 Concert for Tsunami Relief (Image: Stewart Attwood/The Herald)

The Herald: The programme for the Concert for Tsunami ReliefThe programme for the Concert for Tsunami Relief (Image: Richard Walker/The Herald)

I knew Scotland would want to do everything it could to help those affected by the Tsunami if given the chance but we had to act quickly if we were to have the impact needed. I called Mark Mackie of Regular Music and it took him less then a minute to volunteer to help.

‘’It was a no brainer,’’ he told me this week. ‘’I realised that it was crystal clear we had to help. It was straightforward … there was no reason to delay. We knew our efforts could be translated into hard cash which would go straight to the areas it was needed.

Geoff Ellis, head of DF Concerts, was out looking for a new car with his wife when he heard the news. ‘’it was the initial shock of it,’’ he recalled. ‘’It was such a dreadful disaster. You just felt you should do anything you could to help.’’

Just days later Mark, Geoff and I were sitting in a room with two more of Scotland’s biggest music promoters, Paul Cardow, the CPL and PCL groups, and Donald MacLeod, who owns the Cathouse and the Garage in Glasgow. The idea of a major collaboration to stage a fund-raising was born.

Within days we had a line-up of most of the top Scottish bands, all of whom agreed to donate their services when approached. They included Texas, Belle and Sebastian, Mull Historical Society, Deacon Blue, Eddi Reader, Eugene Kelly, Franz Ferdinand, Idlewild, Kevin McDermott, Mogwai, Teenage Fanclub, the Trash Can Sinatras, Travis, Slam DJs … and surprise guests Snow Patrol. We had a venue – the SECC and a host of top level technical staff.

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‘’The whole of the Scottish music industry agreed to take part for nothing. Scotland had never seen anything like it and hasn’t since,’’ said Mark. ‘’It was remarkable’’.

And so on Saturday, 19 February 2005 – barely two months since the idea was first suggested - a sold-out 10,000-strong audience enjoyed the cream of Scottish musicians at their peak and raised around £300,000 for the Disasters Emergency Committee’s Tsunami Appeal.

It was a historic event and everyone there will have their own personal memories of the gig. For Mark it was the overwhelming camaraderie of the backstage area. He said: ‘’Everyone checked their egos in at the door. There was one big catering area and one big green room which everyone shared. Performers gathered at the side of the stage to watch the others play.

‘’I remember Robbie Coltrane [the actor who played television’s Cracker and Hagrid in the Harry Potter films) sitting entertaining some of the acts backstage. It was a great atmosphere.’’ Soon after the actor took the stage to introduce Franz Ferdinand.

Geoff’s recollections are slightly hazier. "It was a humbling night. I remember enjoying Mogwai and Deacon Blue, who kicked off the event. But working an event like that you’re busy making sure everyone is getting what they need and everything is going well. It becomes a bit like a conveyor belt getting everyone on and off stage so you don’t remember all the highlights.’’

The Herald: Eddi Reader on stage at Glasgow's fundraising concert for the victims of the TsunamiEddi Reader on stage at Glasgow's fundraising concert for the victims of the Tsunami (Image: Stewart Attwood/The Herald)

The Herald: Deacon Blue on stage at the SECC at the 2005 Tsunami relief fundraiserDeacon Blue on stage at the SECC at the 2005 Tsunami relief fundraiser (Image: Stewart Attwood/The Herald)

Years later, when he was clearing out his loft during the pandemic Geoff found a memento of the event, a poignant reminder of times when we gathered together in common cause … the concert programme the Sunday Herald put together, which included an eyewitness piece from Sri Lanka by our writer Torcuil Crichton.

He wrote: ‘’Rescue workers had cleared the lines of the streets in an eerie reminder that this had once been an inhabited part of the city. If you stared long enough into the mangled piles of brick and wood surreal shapes became discernible. Vehicles, rolled round like beach pebbles, were embedded in the debris. Then the distorted shapes of furniture, rooms and everyday items became clear, their odd angles at first disguised.

‘’Finally, close in, the cause of the stench, the crooked human arms and legs of the dead made themselves known.’’

My own memories included reading those words while designing that same programme. A copy signed by some of the big night’s acts was delivered to the office that night because producing the following day’s newspaper had ruled out most staff attending the concert.

I’ve got that copy framed in my hall. It’s faded but still beautiful and my feelings of pride continue to burn brightly. I hold many memories of the Sunday Herald in a special place in my heart. Few are as treasured as that programme and the incredible team effort to which it pays tribute.