Posts Tagged ‘glasgow’

On the day when the biggest man in African history is laid to rest, what else could I possibly feature in my blog today?!

I am no expert in politics or African history, however I have lived my life during some of the highs and lows of Nelson Mandela‘s life. I wasn’t even born when Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment for sabotage, but I remember very well in 1981 when Glasgow was  the first city to honour him by awarding him freeman of the city. Mandela was not allowed to leave his prison cell in South Africa to accept the award and this seemed to incite the worldwide calls to set Mandela free.

My Dad was always very knowledgeable about politics and I remember him telling me more about Mandela and how life was for blacks in South Africa in those days. Little did we know then that Mandela would later become the first elected black president of South Africa, and a world renowned and much respected leader who in his time here on earth changed his homeland for the better far more than many other politicians can ever hope to achieve in their lifetime.

Here is a quote from Mandela which I’m sure you’ve all read or heard before, but it’s one that I’ve contemplated so many times, simply because its truth:




Finally, here’s a song by Simple Mind which was one written to celebrate Mandela’s release from prison. It’s simply called Mandela Day. which seems just as appropriate to use today as the world says farewell to one of the most influential men of our era.



Rest in peace Nelson Mandela. You changed your country and the world for the better. Well done.


Some more thoughts for those who have lost loved ones in the Clutha bar tragedy last Friday…

You painted me a picture of tomorrow
A place where you and I walked hand in hand
A world without despair and without shadows
But things just didn’t turn out how we’d planned
Now you’re gone

And I believe that there is somewhere
Where the angels fill the sky
And I believe we’ll live forever
You and I, you and I
Will never die

I wonder if you knew that you were leaving
I thought that I saw something in your eyes
You painted me a picture of believing
I’ll see you there on the other side
And I’ll be there

And I believe that there is somewhere
Where the angels fill the sky
And I believe we’ll live forever
You and I, you and I
Will never die

Life may not have worked out as you expected in these last few days, but be assured that your loved ones who have passed away are looking down on you now. They will live forever in your hearts and minds.

We can live forever because of God, and that I pray will give you hope for today and for the future.

On a day when many in Glasgow will be questioning why events of Friday night happened, and why their loved ones were the ones injured or killed in the incident, all I can offer is reassurance that many will be praying for you and your loved ones.

Glasgow helicopter crashFor those of you who do not know, at approximately 10.25pm on Friday night a police helicopter with 2 police officers and a civilian pilot crashed onto the roof of the busy Clutha pub in Glasgow city centre, injuring many and killing 8.

Some may think praying is not much to offer at a time of deep sorrow and disbelief, however for me although prayer may be all I can do, I believe it is the best we can all do.

It’s amazing what prayer can do. It comforts you, makes you feel whole inside, and gives you hope.

Through the pain and sorrow of these days, God will comfort those who mourn. The future may seem hopeless just now for some, but God can give them hope again.

To all those bereaved by this tragedy I offer my sincere condolences and pray that they may feel God’s love surrounding them at this time. To those injured, I pray that your physical and emotional scars from these events will heal quickly.

To all those in the emergency services who responded to the emergency call, I thank you for your dedication and commitment to help those in need. To you, my fellow Glaswegians who unselfishly tried to help and assist those caught up in the tragedy, I say well done for looking out for your fellow citizens.

I pray that God will comfort those who mourn tonight and surround all other affected by this tragedy with His love, providing hope for tomorrow.


After a fantastic inspirational weekend at the Salvation Army UK Territory’s congress in Glasgow, what else could I blog about tonight!

I watched the Saturday night and Sunday morning meetings from the comfort of my house via the live webcast, but I have to say I still felt as thought I was part of the meetings even though I wasn’t actually there in person. So well done to all involved in broadcasting the webcast.

On Sunday afternoon our band, Bellshill Salvation Army Band were playing from 2.30 – 3pm on stage in the Clyde Auditorium, so I was there for that and then stayed for the BugleTweetafternoon meeting.

The afternoon meeting was a whole new experience for me, as I wasn’t just there to listen, I was also there to Tweet! Martin Cordner, a Salvation Army Officer & brass band composer, created BugleTweet, on Twitter and Facebook, to post updates from SA band and other concerts from around the world. So it was a privilege to be asked by Martin to Tweet for BugleTweet. I just hope that I was able to give those following the tweets, a good feel for what was happening in the Sunday afternoon meeting, even though I lost signal for about 20 minutes at one point!

Back to the meetings themselves..All those who took part in the main meetings of the weekend as well as pre meetings in the foyer and main auditorium were great – the staff songsters, staff band, various corps bands and songsters, youth band and youth chorus, puppets and kids club – all were fantastic and I know blessed many through their message.

And then there was our leaders for the weekend, Commissioners Clive and Marianne Adams, what an inspiration! The recurring message throughout the weekend was transformation, challenging us to transform our world, our nation, our communities and ourselves! Quite a task, but as they said, if we let God start the transformation from within us, anything is possible! Thank you Commissioners Clive and Marianne you inspired so many of us to get out there and start the transformation.

Commissioners Clive and Marianne Adams

The congress is now over, so let’s make sure we keep the momentum going by getting this transformation going – Are you up for the challenge? I am!

Today was a the funeral of little Caden Beggan, aged 6 who sadly lost his battle against meningococcal septicaemia last Tuesday. I’m sure many of you have been following his battle on Facebook, and have been deeply moved and challenged by the daily updates from Caden’s dad – He has written from his heart, sometimes expressing his anger at God, questioning why God allowed this to happen to his precious son, but also showing immense strength and composure as he told of the emotions and feelings of the whole family. Having said all that, the one overriding thing that always shone through it all was that they believed God was with them and was still watching over Caden.

I didn’t have the privilege of knowing Caden, however I know someone who did. So while I can’t comprehend the pain and grief both he and Caden’s family and friends must be feeling at this time, I know God is with them and giving them the strength to get through these darkest of days.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:3)

Caden’s funeral took place this morning in a church just a few yards along the road from my office. So I must admit that although I was in my office all morning, my thoughts and prayers were definitely with those who gathered today to celebrate Caden’s short life.

Caden may be gone, but we can be thankful in the knowledge that he is now free from illness and pain, and with God in heaven. He may not have been here on earth for long, but what an impact he’s had on so many of us. So rest in peace Caden. I’m sure you’ll never be forgotten and I know we’ll all get to meet you one day in heaven…

Last night I told you about the opening of the long awaited M74 motorway which links the existing M74 to the M8 motorway at the far side of Glasgow city centre. Today though I want to ask you what may seem like a daft and maybe pointless question, but it’s one that’s got me curious for a while but I’m sure one of you out there will be able to answer it…

When a new motorway (or extension to an existing motorway) opens, how do they go about opening the new bit of roads and all the associated on and off-ramps to the mew road at the same time?

Sorry, I know that might seem a strange question to ask, but to me, who thinks logically about all I do and all problems I face, it struck me that this kind of situation may be a bit of a logistical nightmare:

  • What if they open one on-slip road before the remaining of-ramps are open?
  • What if they are opening the junctions/on-off ramps in sequence and a motorist gets ahead of those opening the junctions?
  • What if they open the on-slip roads but haven’t opened where the new road joins the existing road?

I did think for a while that they could probably avoid a lots of these potential issues by opening the new motorway in the middle of the night when there would obviously be very little traffic. This theory was however dashed when I discovered the M74 extension was opening at 7pm last night – So how did they do it?

I’m sure there is probably a very sensible and straightforward answer to this, but hey I’m just curious how they do it!

At a time of austerity, the idea of spending more than half a billion pounds on a five-mile stretch of road might seem strange to some. However the M74 extension in Glasgow which opened at 7pm tonight, cost approximately £657m, which works out at about £131m per mile. This extension consists of five miles of an elevated six-lane highway which will link the current end of the M74 which finishes at Rutherglen (South-East Glasgow) to the M8 at the far side of the Kingston Bridge (South) and will for a short period of time be the second most expensive road per mile in the UK – after Limehouse Link, in London’s Docklands.

For those of us who have lived in Glasgow for many years, the opening of this new part of the M74 has been a very very long time coming. I remember a lot of years ago when my Dad was a local councillor, the link-up of the M74, which at that time finished at Maryville (just past Glasgow Zoo), and the far side of the Kingston Bridge was a hot topic of discussion. However at that time many objections were raised to the extension, particularly due to the proposed route the motorway would take through the city.

Since those days, further discussions have obviously taken place, the motorway’s route through the city has been amended slightly, and the go-ahead has been given. The result is an additional five miles of motorway which will provide an alternative route for traffic travelling north on the M74 to the far side of Glasgow city centre, and vice-versa. It will hopefully lighten the traffic load on many roads in the south-east of Glasgow which previously had no direct route through to the city centre other than the busy M8 motorway. In addition the volume of traffic on the M8 itself through the city centre should also be lightened due to traffic now able to use the alternative M74 motorway.

From a personal perspective, living in the south-east of Glasgow just a few minutes from where the M74 currently ends, we envisage this extension will make many of our journeys to the far side of the city centre, far quicker and less stressful.

We will be trying out the new M74 extension either later tonight or in the next few days. Happy driving!

Read any newspaper or any on-line news page or turn your TV onto any news programme and you’ll find there’s nearly always news of someone somewhere having been murdered or seriously injured in what is said to be “an unprovoked attack”. Tragic events which shock the community in which the crime has taken place. Tragic events which devastate families and friendships.

It’s at these times when we as Christians are compelled to pray that God will provide comfort and solace to all those affected by the tragedy. In the days that follow the tragedy we continue to pray for the family and friends of the person killed.

In February this year the nephew of one of my managers was murdered in Blantyre in an unprovoked attack. At this time the community of Blantyre, the family and friends of Raemonn Gormley all voiced their disbelief and devastation at the death of a wonderful young man – I wrote about some of this in two blog posts in February, A Black Friday and Life Is Fragile.

Well on Friday this week the two men charged with Reamonn Gormley’s murder appeared in court in Glasgow. Meanwhile, one of Reamonn’s aunts, my manager, was at work…I was with my manager when she got news from her family on how things had gone at court…all I can say is she was very understandably emotional.

You can read details of the outcome of the accused’s appearances in court on the BBC website:

If I’m honest I must admit that I stopped praying specifically for her, her family and Reamonn’s friends a number of weeks ago. It’s almost as if just because the immediate aftermath and media attentions, the funeral etc were all over, so the events of that tragic day and it’s impact of them, had gone from my mind. I felt very guilty, I felt I had failed as a Christian as although I had prayed for my manager’s family at the time of Reamonn’s death, I have failed to continue to offer the kind of support that both she and her family have needed.

The grief and devastation felt by the family and friends of any murder victim lasts a lifetime, not just a few days, weeks or months. So I ask that you like me, you will make a promise today to continue to pray for the families and friends of all murder victims, no matter whether the crime occurred yesterday, last week, last month, last year or indeed many years ago. Their pain and grief will never go away, although through our prayers and our support we can help them be strong enough to face another day in the knowledge that God is always with them, and that their loved one is at peace in God’s presence.

How many of you have been watching The Scheme on BBC1? It’s a documentary about the high and lows of life for a number of people who live in a large housing estate in Kilmarnock (near Glasgow).

I’d heard a number of people talking about this series…not always in the best light, so I thought I should check it out for myself. So on Monday night I watched the final episode in the series…and boy did it pull at my heartstrings. The reminder that there are so many people so close to home living below the poverty line, feeling as though they have no hope for tomorrow, really troubled me.

I’m sorry to say I’ve heard a number of people say this programme should not have been shown as “it’s a disgrace and shows Scotland in a bad light. All I have to say to that is Yes and Yes…It is a disgrace and it does show Scotland in a bad light, but unfortunately that’s how things really are. Surely that shouldn’t mean the programme should not be broadcast?

We should be embarrassed by this programme, not because of our nationality but because we are supposedly living in a developed nation, one that has enough money to look after its own people but yet we still have people living in atrocious  and chaotic circumstances. There really is something wrong with that!

Kilmarnock isn’t the only place in Britain where people find themselves living a life where they have no prospects of a job, and no hope for their future other than unemployment, drug abuse, alcoholism and prison. Funny how we don’t mind watching these programmes about people living in these circumstances when they live hundreds or thousands of miles away from us. However when it’s people in our own country, living just a few miles from us, it’s all just too close to home for many of us!

Maybe it’s just that we all live in our own wee comfortable world most of the time. One where it’s easy to forget that right on our own doorstep there are many needy people.

People who need us, people who need hope, people who need God!

When giving to charity, I’d ask that you consider donating some of your time and/or money to charities/organisations in your own area that give help to those in need.

They Need Christ (John Gowans)
There are people living in the world out there…
They need you, they need me, they need Christ;
There are children crying and no one to care…
They need you, they need me, they need Christ.
And they’ll go on hurting in the world out there,
And they’ll go on dying, drowning in despair,
And they’ll go on crying, that’s unless we care:
They need you, they need me, they need Christ.

There are people living who would rather die…
They need you, they need me, they need Christ;
And their Christian neighbours simply pass them by…
They need you, they need me, they need Christ.
There are people sitting by a silent phone,
People cold and hungry, people left alone,
Suicides for reasons that remain unknown:
They need you, they need me, they need Christ.

There’s the prostitute and there’s the prisoner too…
They need you, they need me, they need Christ;
There’s the ‘skid row’ fella who has lost a shoe…
They need you, they need me, they need Christ.
The compulsive gambler dreaming of his yacht,
And the lad that’s stealing just to get his ‘shot’,
And the kid that’s pregnant and pretends she’s not:
They need you, they need me, they need Christ.

There are runaways who want a place to go…
They need you, they need me, they need Christ;
There are alcoholics who don’t seem to know…
They need you, they need me, they need Christ;
There are God-less people who have lost their way,
And they need God’s love but they’re afraid to say.
If we close our eyes perhaps they’ll go away
Without you, without me, without Christ;

They need you, they need me, they need Christ.

Imagine a man who…

  • Graduated from university with a first class honours degree.
  • Worked for Rolls Royce.
  • Became a further education lecturer, teaching mathematics and science.
  • Served on his local council as a councillor for many years.
  • Played several musical instruments and was well known in the jazz and big band scene.
  • Composed and arranged music for bands/groups/ensembles/individuals.
  • Avid football fan.

Now imagine another man – This man…

  • Spends most of his time in bed.
  • When up, struggles to stay awake.
  • Is dizzy whenever he stands up.
  • Rarely goes out the house.
  • Doesn’t recognise people or places he knows well.
  • Struggles to remember what he’s been told just a few minutes earlier.
  • Has difficultly distinguishing between reality and fiction. i.e. He’s adamant about some things which we know are not real.
  • Has lost some of the ability to perform everyday tasks.

So who are these men I’ve described? Well both are the same man, and that man is my Dad!

The first man I described was my Dad prior to the onset of vascular dementia, while the second is a current description of him.

Dementia is one of those illnesses which I think unless you’re directly affected by it, will think it’s just a big word for someone who’s forgetful…if only!

Life has been drastically changed in the last year for both my Mum and my Dad, as my Dad’s dementia has quickly progressed to it’s current state. Mum now has help Dad with most things as well as explain the same things over and over again to him.

It’s sad to see someone you know and love deteriorating before your eyes, especially as there is nothing we can do to prevent it. However I think what makes it even harder for my Mum in particular, is the fact that my Dad was obviously a very clever guy, but this illness has now reduced him to someone who doesn’t even recognise family or friends anymore.

I find it hard when with Dad, so I can only imagine how Mum feels coping with him 24/7 – Mind you at least the doctor agreed a couple of weeks ago to try and get her some help, as personally I felt she was taking on too much as I can’t be there with her and Dad all the time.

Dad’s told Mum a number of times in the last few months that he’s not got long to go – Mum was understandably upset by this, as I was when she told me. However the doctor still tells us that other than his dementia, Dad is very well for his age, so maybe it’s just because Dad doesn’t really know what’s happening to him that he’s saying this.

Last Friday was the 25th March, and on Friday, Dad apparently asked Mum what date it was, and when she answered it was the 25th, Dad started wishing himself “Happy Birthday”…There was only one problem with this…Dad’s birthday is the 25th of April not the 25th of March! So very sad.

In closing I’d just like to ask you to pray for my Dad, and also for my Mum as she cares for him as dementia is more than just someone being a bit forgetful, it’s a debilatating illness that affects not only for the sufferer but also their family and friends.

In addition, please pray for all those around the world suffering from, or caring for someone with demenita, it’s a tough life, and one that everyone concerned needs our prayerful support for.