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Coatbridge Here We Come.

Looking forward to the Sons game today. We play Albion Rovers at Coatbridge and my friend Kit (if he makes it after speaking at the Rock Bowling Club last night) and I have been invited as guests by Rovers director Patrick Rolink . Pat is one of Scottish Footballs good guys. I first met him when I hired him as a speaker at Craig Brittain's Testimonial Dinner. Pat did a grand job and is an extremely funny and decent guy. He is often to be found out and about in the Coatbridge area encouraging people to attend Rovers games. Earlier this year when vandals struck at Rovers ground for the umpteenth time he and his board managed to get a company to volunteer to repair the mess and another to install cctv.

Whilst obviously I hope we beat Rovers today, in the long term Pat and his fellow directors epitomise the spirit and effort required to run a small club. I wish them every success (except when they play us!)


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If You Read Nothing Else Today Read This

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Some stories are very difficult to convey in a blog and this is one of them. It is happy, inspiring, sad and tragic in equal measure. My very good friend and bass player in my band, Smiler and his wife Carolyn had a wee boy in January 2004. Unfortunately Fraser's umbilical chord had wrapped itself around his neck before the birth thus depriving him of essential oxygen. The result was that when Fraser was born his mum and dad faced an agonising time not knowing if he would survive and if he did what the extent of his disability would be due to the oxygen starvation.

As it turned out Fraser did survive but was considerably disabled. It was clear that a very intense investment in time effort and love (and money) would be necessary to overcome the problems that he would face in life. It was unlikely he would ever walk. He would require special feeding, special equipment such as a chair to support him properly. The family had to move house to a single level, which had to be adapted, taking on a very hefty mortgage to do so. An accessible car was also needed and was bought.

Smiler and Carolyn adapted to their new situation and despite having two (now three) other children somehow managed to dedicate the time effort and love necessary for their whole family and in particular Fraser. This year having shed about three stone Smiler trained hard and took part in four local 10k races to raise money for Bobath a charity which had helped Fraser to improve and develop. To be honest my wife and I often wondered how we would have coped in the same situation and we agreed that it would be difficult to imagine better parents than Fraser had. No matter the unlucky breaks life had dealt him he was at least fortunate in this one respect. No parents could have done more to make Fraser's quality of life better. The care he required was constant and demanding but I never heard his parents complain once.

They fought for every little thing they could that would somehow help Fraser realise his potential. Sometimes they met with unsympathetic or indifferent professionals and officials but they ploughed on. Nothing it seemed was overlooked in their desire to help their son have the best possible life he could. Every little bit of progress Fraser made, pleased and delighted them and pushed them on to the next thing they could do to help him

On Wednesday Fraser developed an infection and the doctor prescribed antibiotics. After being put to bed his parents checked on him regularly through the night but at 6 am on Thursday they found him not breathing and lifeless. The infection was too much for his immune system.

Fraser demonstrated how adversity can bring out the best in people. That is his legacy.



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