The Ardross-man

Raindrops keep falling on my head

Another potential disaster diverted –

We had a leak in our Training Hall which we found out came about because the last storm ripped a few slates off our roof.

So an intrepid young roofer climbed up and despite the high wind managed to hold on, albeit somewhat precariously, and fix on some new tiles for us.


Many thanks to Paul Marchetti for arranging the roofer and the brave lad who carried out the work.

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Storm Brian

Having survived the tail end of Storm Ophelia, I thought my church building had weathered the worst of it – and then along came Storm Brian!


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(I mean, who names a storm Brian anyway??)


Winds in excess of 70mph ripped off the seafront and into the church building and pulled off one of the protective glass windows.


Hopefully you can just make out the outline of the protective glass on the ground – and thankfully it’s in one piece so we may manage to get it back in situa.

Fingers crossed.


Waterfall wall

Oh dear – more water ingress in our Training Hall area. 😦

This time, it’s the wall of our equipment store area which leads to the main doors of the church hall.

I came in to find that the entire floor area was a pool of water and the water had flowed under the doors and into the hall room, under the training mats.

The problem was, I couldn’t find the source.

Initially, I thought it was seeping up from under the floor but a check of the external wall didn’t reveal the problem. But I did notice that the flat roof above the entrance area had a drain pipe which went inside the wall – could this be what was causing the leak?

I had to rip off a piece of the hardboard wall covering to reveal the down pipe and sure enough I had discovered the leak source – or sources a it turned out.

There was a pipe which seemed to be blocked as water was flowing down the connection with the U-bend – but there was also water flowing down the wall signifying another leak probably on the flat roof.


For the time being, I’ve caught the water in a bucket until builder extraordinaire Paul Marchetti can come fix it…..which may be some time as i got this photo from him –

Apparently Paul broke is leg in a number of places when a heavy pallet being unloaded from a lorry fell on top of him on another job.

Get well soon Paul

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Titan Crane abseil fundraiser update

Hi all,

Just a quick update to inform you that the total amount raised in our Titan Crane fundraising abseil was £1,738.16 

Many thanks to the nine supporters who abseiled off the 150ft crane in Clydebank –

David Bell, Aimee Bell, Norma Baillie, Michael McAllister, Jamie Cuthbertson, Colin Hamilton, Karen Lavery, Helen McMillan and myself (Alan Bell).


Thank you all for your support.

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Since taking over the former Barony St John Church in Ardrossan, I have been trying to source the names and images of all the ministers who had served there from when it was first opened in 1844 as the New Ardrossan Parish Church to when it was closed 170 years later in 2014.

From what I can gather, twho retired when the church joined with St. John’s in 1987.

When the church changed its name to the Barony St. John Church in 1988 the first minister was the Rev. A.W. (Sandy) Young who stayed until 1993. Then the Rev. William Jackson became the new minister in 1994 but moved on in 1998.

The Rev. Colin Sutherland took up the role in 1999 until 2002 whereupon the minister post remained vacant until 2009 when the Rev Dorothy Granger took over the role until the closure of the church in 2014.

From 2002 until 2009 there were a couple of intermediate ministers including the Rev. Johnston McKay who was the former Head of Religious Broadcasting for the BBC. He served at the church from 2002 until 2008 when the Rev. Andrew Taylor took over for a short time and then handed the reigns over to the Rev. James Davidson in 2009.

I’ve managed to get photos of the Rev. Johnston McKay and the Rev. Dorothy Granger but none of the rest.

I’m hoping the ministers I have listed are correct but if anyone knows anything different or if anyone can supply me with dates of service and/or photos / sketches of the previous ministers of the former Barony St. John church / Barony church / New Ardrossan Parish Church then I would really appreciate it.


Many thanks in advance and if you’d be interested in reading more ‘behind the scenes’ news about our renovation work and discoveries in the Barony St. John buildings, check out my blog at or if you would like to volunteer to help us, help us fundraise to save the church buildings or simply know more about our charity, please contact us via our website or look us up (ScotCPS) on Facebook or Twitter.

Goodbye for now.





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 😀

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