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The Ardross-man

The Scottish Diversity Awards 2019

My charity, The Scottish Centre for Personal Safety has had the work we do with many diverse groups recognised at this year’s Scottish Diversity Awards where we won the “Empowering Champions” award.

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The Charity Awards 2019

I had the honour of representing my charity at The Charity awards 2019 in the Pavilion at The Tower of London last week.

We won the Disability Award for our Personal Safety classes for people who are Blind or Visually Impaired.

Well chuffed to have my charity considered to be one of the best in the UK.

Psychic & Holistic Fayre 5

We are lucky enough to have Ann Smith’s Phoenix Spiritualist Church use our Barony St John Centre in Ardrossan for their weekly meetings, tarot readings and demonstrations of clairvoyance and mediumship.

Every couple of months or so, Ann also holds a Psychic & Holistic Fayre in our main hall room with various stalls selling everything from Jem’s gems and crystals; craftwork such as handmade cards, candles, toys and jewelry; oriental and world-wide ornaments from the Cove such as Buddhas, meditation bowls and African woodwork; and much more.

There are also stalls offering tarot and angel card readings as well as others specialising in runes, aromatherapy, reflexology, aura photography, Reiki, Quigong medicine, spiritual healing, Mindfulness and Indian head massage.

On top of all this, there are demonstrations throughout the day from some of Scotland’s top mediums – and not forgetting the home-baking and refreshments.

Now, the main hall in our Centre is usually two thirds matted and the final third is a gym with spin bikes and free weights, so clearing all of this kit requires a lot of effort from our volunteers. But it is worth it because Ann, herself a celebrated medium, does not simply hire our hall for the day – she donates half of the day’s takings to us for the ongoing upkeep and renovation of the Centre.

So far, there has been a Fayre to mark Remembrance Sunday last November, one at Christmas, one at Valentine’s Day, one at Easter and a Summer one today. Now if we had rented the hall to the Phoenix Spiritualist Church we would have received £600 for our troubles – but astonishingly, they have donated a total of £2,414 to us for these five Fayres.

So, if you are looking for something a bit different, fancy treating yourself to a holistic treatment or even a tarot card reading, why not come along to the next Psychic & Holistic Fayre at our Barony St John Centre and indulge yourself? It’s scheduled for Sunday 1st September so you’ve plenty of time to put it in your diary….you know what they say – what’s good for the heart is good for the soul. 🙂

Window pains

Back in April 2017, I published a post titled Pane-less which told you all about my endeavours to replace the windows in the Training Room section of the Barony St John hall building.

Two years on, and I trying to do the same with the rest of the hall building – but it’s proving to be a bit of a nightmare.

The windows in the main hall are very large. Ten of them are arched..

And one is a very large circular window with the Star of David in it mentioned in a previous post…

ALL of them are needing repaired with rotten frames, cracked glass and in some cases letting in water.

It would cost a small fortune to replace them but to help reduce our heating bills, I have an idea;

We could replace the five external facing windows, repair the others and put in a suspended ceiling to reduce the space we need to heat.

You can see the transformation that took place in 2017 when we replaced the windows in the Training Room area – the left window is the old one with the right window a new replica.

They look fantastic.

Fingers crossed the hall windows will look just as good.

The Cupboard under the Stairs

Last time, I told you about the Easter Egg Hunt I organised for my kids (Easter Egg Hunt 2019), well it got really interesting for me when I was photographing my daughter finding her egg in the cupboard under the main staircase leading up to the church gallery.

I noticed some names written on the back of the cupboard door. Some appeared fairly new and were written by a black marker pen.;

John S. Hughes, J.W.G. Neil, Allana MacDougall and Joyce C. Inglis” with “Alec Bingham” printed in pencil below this and “H. McLean” printed to the left of it.

Does anyone know these people? I would love to find out when this was written (no charges of vandalism will be sought LOL).

But my attention was drawn to an inscription to the left of this list of names. It was in pencil but the handwriting is in beautiful scroll;

David & Shona, Saltcoats, 1873

It’s a long shot, but if anyone has any idea who David and Shona is, I would really appreciate hearing about it.

In the meantime, if you want to know more about my efforts to save the Barony St John buildings, check out our Facebook page The Barony St John Regeneration Project or contact my charity, The Scottish Centre for Personal Safety via http://www.ScotCPS.org.uk or look us up (ScotCPS) on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Goodbye for now.

Easter Egg Hunt 2019

Every year since taking over the Barony St John in Ardrossan, I have held an Easter Egg Hunt for my children.

In the first couple of years I just planted Easter eggs around the church, split the church in half and sent my son searching to the left and my daughter off to the right. It worked well but last year I wanted to mix it up a bit so I introduced clues to a bigger egg.

So how good are you at riddle solving?

Last year’s clues to where the eggs were hidden were “Heart, lungs, liver, kidneys” and “Arial Calibri, Times New Roman, WingDings”.

The answer to my daughter’s riddle was Organ (as everything in her clue are organs in the body) and she found her Easter egg hidden behind the church organ.

My son’s riddle answer was Font as his clue was a list of fonts or text styles used in computer writing. His egg was hidden under the lid of the church baptismal font.

So, the challenge was on to come up with new clues for this year.

My daughter loves Harry Potter so her clue was “Like Harry Potter before he left for Hogwarts, your egg can be found sleeping here”.

And for all you Potter fans, you’ve probably guessed that it is the cupboard under the stairs.

 

 

 

 

 

My son is older and needs a slightly tougher clue so his was “Another word for urine and the first part of A.D. as in 2019AD. This one should tickle your ivories”.

And hopefully you’ve guessed that this is “pee” and “Anno” (as in Anno Domini), so his egg was inside the church piano.

 

 

Happy Easter folks 🙂

Fashion Show 2019

To help raise funds for the renovation of the Barony St John buildings, a unique Fashion Show took place on Sunday in Saltcoats – twenty two of the thirty models were blind or visually impaired.

The event was held at M&Co Saltcoats and also highlighted how, over the past two years, some of the models had attended my charity, The Scottish Centre for Personal Safety’s confidence boosting safety classes, specifically designed for people with low or no vision.

Having established that many people struggled to maintain their previous confidence levels when diagnosed with a vision impairment and, as their vision decreased, would prefer to stay indoors rather than face a noisy world, full of dangers and threats that they could no longer see, I set about developing a course that could address these issues.

Why you may ask?

Well, Hate Crimes against disabled people have risen by 51% in the past year alone however people who are blind or vision impaired are more than twice as likely to be attacked than a sighted individual, mostly due to the fact that they cannot identify their attacker. I felt that this had to be addressed and so I worked with a variety of organisations for the blind to develop this course.

Last year, the course development was concluded and I began to offer free of charge in our Barony St John Centre, the Forth Valley Sensory Centre in Camelon, near Falkirk, and in Deafblind Scotland’s Learning & Development Centre in Kirkintilloch.

The course went on to win the “Pioneering Project Award 2018” at last year’s Scottish Charity Awards.

As the confidence levels of course participants built up, their anxiety levels decreased and so did their fear of being attacked and soon they began to venture out more, leading richer, fuller lives again…some for the first time in over thirty years.

The Fashion Show on Sunday was the culmination of all this training, showing the renewed confidence the course participants had received as they strutted their stuff on the catwalk in front of an audience of almost one hundred people.

It also highlighted the re-launch of my charity’s weekly Personal Safety classes for the Blind and Visually Impaired, which currently run free of charge at the Forth Valley Sensory Centre and will soon be running at the Barony St John Centre in Ardrossan and Deafblind Scotland’s Learning & Development Centre in Kirkintilloch.

If you know of anyone who would benefit from our training, contact me on 07900 950599.

Here are some photos from a fab day.

Walter Dalgleish

In a previous post, I wrote about the ministers of the New Ardrossan Parish Church through until it became the Barony Church and latterly the Barony St John’s Church.

Last week, I was delighted to hear from a chap called Bob Dalgleish who resides in Ayr, who told me about his grandfather and his connection to Ardrossan and the church building. I’ll let Bob take up the story;

“My father was born in Ardrossan in 1907 and baptised in New Ardrossan Parish Church on the 18th February 1908. The service was conducted by the Rev John Kirkland Cameron who was the minister of the parish at that time. The only reason I know this is because it is so written on the reverse of the original birth certificate.

I was intrigued going through your blog to see that you discovered old parish records that mention the Rev John Kirkland Cameron. It is possible therefore that my grandfather Walter and grandmother Augusta attended this church during the time they lived in Ardrossan.

My dad never spoke of his childhood and its only very recently that I came across a photo of my grandfather. Whilst in Ardrossan, they lived at Kilmeny Gardens which although now gone, was close to Kilmeny Terrace. Grandfather Walter was a professional gardener and probably worked in the gardens of the nearby house which later became the Kilmeny Hotel.

(The photo is of grandfather Walter taken in 1929).

My dad James, was the youngest of three brothers, the others being Robert and Walter but there was only a year or so between them.

Sadly, my grandmother died in 1911 when my dad was just over three years old and, of course, I never got to meet her. So, reading about the history of the church in your blog brings a perspective to my family history research which I did not have before. I have searched for sometime but I have no idea where my grandmother is buried and I would dearly love to pay my respects. If you do come across any records regarding this, I should be so grateful if you were able to share them with me. My grandmother’s full name is Augusta Chads Dunlop Dalgleish, nee Paton, which is quite unusual.”

Despite wandering around the graveyard in Saltcoats, I have not yet found the grave of Augusta Dalgleish – perhaps YOU can.

Or if any reader knows of any records pertaining to Augusta’s death or can remember Walter (junior or senior), James or Robert Dalgleish please email me at Alan@ScotCPS.org.uk and I will pass the information on to Bob.

In the meantime, if your great, great grandfather or great grandmother had a connection with the Barony St John / New Ardrossan Parish Church, please get in touch – especially if you have any old photos of the buildings. You can also read my blog at http://www.ardrossman.wordpress.com and find out what’s being going on since we bought it over in December 2014; or if you would like to know more about my charity, please contact us via http://www.ScotCPS.org.uk or look us up (ScotCPS) on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Goodbye for now.

Winter is coming…

As the temperature changes, the plaster in the church becomes colder and colder. It shrinks and occasionally falls off.

This time, a large amount of plaster has fallen from the ceiling around the lower level.

And it has brought down a light fitting too.

This is always a heartbreaking sight for me – although the Design Team tell me its cosmetic as all the plaster will have to be taken off and renewed as part of the building redevelopment – but it is still a terrible time for me.

To be honest, I’m not sue how much more the church building can withstand.

My fingers are crossed that we get a funder or sponsor to come onboard with this project sooner rather than later.

Watch this space.

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