26 April 2010
My Presidential duties came to an abrupt halt following my confrontation with a cattle truck as I cycled on a lovely sunny afternoon along a country road in Dumfries and Galloway. I succeeded in puncturing both lungs and suffered multiple broken ribs, shoulder, collar bone and several vertebrae which will necessitate six weeks in a neck-support collar. The A&E staff and those in the Intensive Care Unit at Dumfries Royal Infirmary did a marvellous job in patching me up and nursing me through those critical early days. The photograph shows me a week after the crash still hooked up to drains and drips to stabilise my bashed body.
I have been overwhelmed by the number of get-well and good-wishes cards I have received from all over the world, including a very thoughtful one from Joanna Lumley. These and awareness of prayers being offered on my behalf have been most uplifting and have greatly aided my recovery which is progressing well, albeit very slowly. I am sincerely grateful to all those involved. I send my apologies to those who had invited me to functions I could not attend but am indebted to Senior Vice President David Baird for stepping in as a substitute whenever possible. I am now at home and Pat has been a fantastic nurse helping me to recuperate. Hopefully I will be able to resume my Presidential duties before too long and have the chance to pass on my appreciation in person.
Monday, 24 May 2010
Wednesday 21 April 2010
Around twenty exchange students from St Petersburg spent a couple of weeks studying at Reid Kerr College, Paisley and as a finale to the visit a dinner was held to mark the occasion. I was delighted to be invited as a guest of honour and enjoyed a magical evening as these students performed a multi-cultural ceilidh of Russian and Scottish music, poetry and dance.
The highlight was a rousing rendition of Auld Lang Syne led by ten of the students who knew all the verses off by heart. Yet again I saw at first hand the love of Burns' poetry and song which seems to be so inherent in Russian youngsters. All the exchange students had thoroughly enjoyed their time in Scotland and returned home with certificates and other mementoes of a highy successful cultural and educational visit.
Fortunately, my next function was to be the Secondary School's Festival at Coatbridge High School where I could witness the incredible talent of our own pupils who are proudly carrying on the tradition of their forebears with such distinction. The photograph shows the overall winner, and Young Burnsian of the Year, piper Callum Moffat from Lockerbie Academy with his haul of trophies. Alongside Callum is Mr David Scott, Group Director of Gladedale group of companies which very generously sponsors the school's competitions, including the choral competition. Others in the photograph from the left are; Jim Shields JVP, Isa Hanley School's Convenor, Sam Judge RBWF Chief Executive and David Baird, SVP.