From the very beginning there has been something weird drawing me to the Barony St. John buildings in Ardrossan as a base for my charity.
Little coincidences or quirks that I’d refer to as “omens” which seemed to be telling me that this was my destiny.
Yes, I know, this all sounds fanciful and I have detailed all the Omens in previous blog posts – but let me summarise them to date –
Omen 1. The Ardross-Ardrossan – this highlighted the similarity between the name of the village where I lived in the Highlands (Ardross) at the time I bought the buildings and the town where the buildings were (Ardrossan).
Omen 2. The Instructor Omen – not knowing exactly where in North Ayrshire Ardrossan was, I contacted a group I had trained as instructors from North Ayrshire to see if they had heard of the church – and it turned out that the leader and a couple of instructors actually lived in Ardrossan, giving my charity a supply of ready qualified, local instructors.
Omen 3. The Star of David Omen – when visiting the buildings for the first time with my brother David, I noticed it had a Star of David (Jewish) symbol in the hall window and in the church window. Strange for a Church of Scotland building but a coincidence since David was here with me.
Omen 4. The Church Omen – After putting a bid in for the hall building, we were informed it had been accepted and we would be getting the church building too.
Omen 5. The SAS Omen – As the Three Towns of Saltcoats, Ardrossan and Stevenston often gets abbreviated to SAS (as in the SAS Explorer Scout Unit) it was a coincidence since SAS was the abbreviation of my organisation prior to it becoming a charity, Security And Safety.
Omen 6. The Owner Omen – how strange to find out that the only other person on the title deeds to the church buildings was Robert Bell in December 1844 and now, exactly 170 years later in December 2014, my name was added – Alan Bell. Only two people on the title deeds, both named Bell.
Omen 7. The Elder Omen – Having found the accounts from 1906 and 1909, I was surprised to see that David Bell was a church elder. The same name as my brother.
Omen 8. The Wolf Omen – Having decided to look at getting the church ceiling painted with a fresco, a local painter had the idea of painting a Celtic horoscope with animals and trees representing the various star signs. Her plan of work showed various animal drawings of a stag, salmon – and a wolf drawing which was identical to the emblem of my children’s Primary School….in Ardross.
Omen 9. The Wallace Omen – A chance meeting with World Karate Champion Bill “Superfoot” Wallace saw him agree to open my Centre…..on the 720th anniversary of the original William Wallace’s taking of Ardrossan castle just behind the church buildings.
And now, one of my new instructors comes up to me having read one of my blog posts regarding (Omen 7. The Elder Omen) and asks me if I noticed her name in the list of church elders.
Daisy Haining is currently our youngest instructor. She is 17yrs old and was actually born in Stevenston (one of the Three Towns) where she lived for the first two years of her life before moving to Ardrossan.
Her father was originally from Stewarton in East Ayrshire (15 – 16 miles away from Ardrossan) so no immediate link with Ardrossan until 15 years ago.
And here’s the thing – Haining is a pretty uncommon name. In fact, Daisy has never met anyone else with the same surname other than her relations!
But yet, here in the list of church Elders in the New Ardrossan Parish Church annual report of 1906 and 1909 is a Mr D. B. Haining.
Now, if you look carefully at the list of Elders, you’ll notice there is something really strange about D.B. Haining – it’s the only name abbreviated to initials. All the other names are written in full.
D.B Haining was also the “Representative Elder to Presbytery and Synod” (I had to look up “synod” and apparently its either “an assembly of the clergy and sometimes also the laity in a diocese or other division of a particular Church” or “a Presbyterian ecclesiastical court above the presbyteries and subject to the General Assembly”) and D.B Haining was one of only three Elders who were on the Poor Fund Committee – the other two being James Barbour and David Bell (same name as my brother).
So yes, it is a Mr rather than a Miss. And yes, it is D.B. Haining rather than D. Haining. But there is no denying that this is spookily weird.
I buy the church on behalf of my charity and two of my six instructors have the same surnames as two of the twelve church Elders from over a hundred years ago.
Even spookier, two of the three members of the church’s Poor Fund Committee have the same surname’s as two of my instructors and one has the exact same name….the other is the only person to have their forename as an initial instead of the full name, making this name D. Haining the same as my instructor D. Haining.
And so, ladies and gentlemen, I think you will agree that this new revelation does indeed qualify as Omen 10. The Haining Omen 😀