The Ardross-man

Cream of Ayrshire Best Local Charity (almost)

Well folks, we were honoured to make the final three best charities in the whole of Ayrshire but disappointed not to have won the top prize.

Once nominated, a panel of judges look through each nomination and select the top 3 apparently based on merit.


The problem is that the top 3 then vie it out and the one with the most votes wins – in other words, it’s a popularity contest. If you have lots of friends, you win. It’s that simple.

So unfortunately, we could never win against schools, businesses, charities with lots of clients, supporters, participants. But it was an honour to be nominated and to reach the final – and the award night was a great experience.


The silver slava we won for reaching the final will take pride of place in my office once it gets renovated. Many thanks for all those who voted for us….and there’s always next year 😀


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Runner-up “Best Local Charity” 2017

Last week, our charity won the “Runner-up” silver salva trophy in West FM’s Cream of Ayrshire “Best Local Charity” Award 2017. This was presented at the awards night attended by Volunteer Executive Manager Alan Bell, instructor Michael McAllister, volunteer Emma Paterson and supporter Norma Baillie.
Many thanks to everyone who voted for us. 🙂

Instructor Training Day September 2017

We had another fantastic Instructor Training day.

Held in our new Training Room before progressing into the Training Hall, it covered Child Protection, First Aid, Transgender awareness and updates on our practical Self Defence skills.


Some last minute cramming for potential new instructors – Then its time to kit up and practice our self defence skills.


 I’m very proud to have such a great time behind me. 😀 

The new Training Room

In 1886 an appeal was made for funds to erect a hall, able to seat around 300 people, on ground adjacent to the Barony St. John’s Church (or as it was known then, New Ardrossan Parish Church). Funding was successful and the hall building was opened in 1887 at a cost, including furnishings, of £1,000 (around £120,000 in today’s money – which is still a bargain).

Now, exactly 130 years later in 2017, we have finally managed to renovate a major part of the hall building into a Training Room for my charity (The Scottish Centre for Personal Safety).

The before and after photos below show a dramatic change;


Rotten timbers and broken floorboards, crumbling wall and ceiling plaster, water ingress, wet rot, dry rot and decaying, broken windows meant this room was completely unusable.

But now, it looks like this –


We have a wonderful new Training / Meeting Room which can seat up to twelve people for the various training courses we provide including Personal Safety in the Workplace, Lone Worker, First Aid at Work, Refresher First Aid, Emergency First Aid, Paediatric First Aid etc. as well as accommodating meetings and social gatherings for both ourselves and other groups within our community.

Dr Danielle Farrel will be offering independent advice for carers and those living with a disability via her social enterprise, Your Options Understood (YOU), which will be operating out of this room from this week onwards and we will be offering free Personal Safety classes for people with low or no vision, every Thursday from 11am until 12.15pm.

All this is thanks to our funders; The Hugh Fraser Foundation, The Clothworkers’ Foundation, the Garfield Weston Foundation and the Trusthouse Charitable Foundation who funded the building works for the room.

hughfraser  clothworkersfoundationlogo       The Trusthouse Charitable Foundation 

And “Thank you” to Howdens Joinery Co. in Ardrossan who kindly donated the kitchen units and worktop for our tea/coffee area.



Without your funding, this room could never have been completed. Thank you one and all.

If anyone is interested in renting this room out, booking one of our courses or simply finding out more about volunteering or fundraising for our charity, please contact us via our website or look us up (ScotCPS) on Facebook or Twitter.

Goodbye for now.

Many, many, many thanks 😀

Lady Grisell Baillie

I found this Victorian advert in the church about Lady Grisell Baillie


But having never heard of her, I had to find out more;

It turns out she was a Scottish songwriter with a fascinating  history.

Born on Christmas Day 1665, she died aged 80 on 6th December 1746, just shy of her 81st birthday and was buried on Christmas Day 1746.

800px-lady_grisell_baillieGrisell was the eldest daughter of Sir Patrick Hume, a staunch Scottish patriot.

In 1677, when Grisell was just 12 years old, she carried letters from her father to Robert Baillie who was in prison for plotting to assassinate King Charles II of England and his brother James.

Baillie’s idea was that the Catholic King and his brother would be killed and a Protestant heir would take their place on the throne. (Guy Fawkes had a similar idea when he tried to blow up King Charles II grandfather, James I, in the famous Gunpowder Plot of 1605).

The King’s men soon became suspicious of Hume as in the same year, 1677, Grisell was asked to be one of the Maids of Honour at the wedding of Mary (the Protestant daughter of the King’s brother James) to William of Orange. And although Grisell turned down this offer, the King wanted Hume arrested for questioning.

Hume hid in the crypt of Polwarth Church in the Scottish Borders while his daughter, Grisell, smuggled food to him and when news broke of Baillie’s execution in 1684, Hume fled to the Netherlands (home of William of Orange) where his family later joined him.

Catholic King James VII of Scotland (II of England) meanwhile took the throne following the death of his brother Charles II in 1685 but Protestant nobles called for the King’s Protestant son-in-law, William of Orange, to land an invasion army from the Netherlands.

When, in 1688 William did just that, King James fled for France and was replaced by his eldest, Protestant daughter Mary and her husband and invader, William of Orange.

This was to become known as The Glorious Revolution.

The Catholic former king, James, didn’t give up so easily though and made one big attempt to recover his throne from Protestant William and Mary. He landed in Ireland in 1689 with a small army in 1690 and there followed the Battle of the Boyne where James and his “Jacobite” army were defeated by William’s “Williamite” army. James returned to France where he stayed with his Catholic cousin, King Louis XIV (he of the Palace of Versailles and French Revolution fame) until his death.

Sir Patrick Hume and his family including Grisell returned to Scotland in 1690 after James’s ultimate defeat in Ireland and in 1692, Lady Grisell aged 27, married George, the son of the executed Robert Baillie. It was said that Grisell fell in love with George when she first met him aged 12 as she smuggled letters from her father to his.

Some of Lady Grisell’s songs were printed in Allan Ramsay’s Tea-Table Miscellany. The most famous being “And werena my heart light I wad dee” which originally appeared in William Thomson’s Orpheus Caledonius (otherwise known as A Collection of the Best Scotch Songs) which was published in 1725.

Lady Grisell was also memorialised by the Scottish poet, Joanna Baillie (not a known relation but she claimed to be a distant relative) in a poem first published in 1821 in Metrical Legends of Exalted Characters.

What a colourful history lesson.

The Cream of Ayrshire Awards “Best Local Charity”

We need your support!
Our charity, The Scottish Centre for Personal Safety, has reached the final of The Cream of Ayrshire Awards for “Best Local Charity”.

Please click on the link below, and give us your vote.

We cannot win this without YOUR help so please vote and share with your Friends to try to get us as many votes as possible. You don’t have to reside in Ayrshire to vote.


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Soap by Royal Appointment

I saw this advert in the pamphlet Life & Works which I found last year –

It starts off Appointed by Special Royal Warrant – Soap Makers to Her Majesty the Queen

Obviously this is Queen Victoria as the date on the pamphlet is May 1893.


The nice thing about some of these Victorian adverts is that some were written as a short story instead of just the “buy me” type of advert we get today.

This story – “A Daughter’s Happiness” is delightful;

“There is no incident in a mother’s life more deeply moving than when she is alone for the last time with her daughter, shortly to become a wife, the training of whom for a useful happy life has been her constant care. There stands the young bride, full of hope and confidence in the future, scarcely giving a thought to the happy home she is leaving, and scarcely asking herself whether she will be equally happy in the home she is seeking for herself. In a few minutes the carriage will bear her away, and she will have passed from her mother’s care to that of the man to whom she is confiding her whole future happiness. In these few minutes of waiting the mother lives again the years that have flown past since her daughter was a wee toddling babe, and asks herself if she could possibly have done more than she has done to secure her daughter’s happiness. At such a time, the mother finds the deepest satisfaction in knowing that whilst her daughter is fully accomplished for the ballroom, and for all the social duties of life, she is equally well trained in all the details of household management. These things are not trifles, as some would suppose; the happiness of a household depends on cleanliness and comfort; with these the cottage is a HOME; without them the palace is a wilderness. HAPPY is the wife who has been taught that the easiest, surest, safest, and most economical way to ensure cleanliness and comfort in her household is by the regular use of SUNLIGHT SOAP.”

Oh my, how times have changed!

I find it frightening to think that this was a woman’s lot right up into the 1970s – you get married and then serve your husband, keep the house and be a good wife.

Aren’t you glad that we live in these modern times of equality?

New kit

The Training Hall is really becoming homely and I’ve received two really heavy duty punchbags and frames donated by Stewart from North Ayrshire Muay Thai – a huge “Thank you” Stewart.

And I also got some extra free weights;

As well as a new leg press and some spin bikes;

Our gym and training area is now complete. 😀

Thanks to everyone who has helped by donating pieces of kit. It really is very much appreciated.

My Office

At long last, I have finally started to clear out the old Vestry Room and make it into an office space where I can store confidential documents, hold private meetings, etc.

Here is what it currently looks like –

The skylight window is cracked in several places and letting in water…

The plasterboard is completely off one of the walls due to water ingress which has now been stopped. This water damage has also caused a lot of the plaster work to comedown…


And the whole place needs painted and decorated…..


It’s going to take a bit of time but I’ll get there……………….Watch this space! 😀

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