Chal­lenge of a life­time for pals

Rutherglen Reformer - - Front Page - Dou­glas Dickie

Two pals from Burn­side and Castlemilk are hop­ing to be on top of the world af­ter over­com­ing drug and drink ad­dic­tion.

Davie Main and John Ferns are vol­un­teers at the Cal­ton Ath­letic Re­cov­ery Group in Glas­gow, and in two years they are set to take on the chal­lenge of a life­time.

The duo are part of a 12-per­son team set to trek to Ever­est Base Camp in Nepal in April 2016.

It’s a far cry from when both men were at their low­est ebb, with John say­ing he would have strug­gled get­ting up Castlemilk Road be­fore he got clean.

Davie (45), lives in Burn­side and first ap­proached Cal­ton 24 years ago af­ter his promis­ing foot­ball ca­reer was wrecked by drink and drugs.

Af­ter play­ing a lead­ing role in build­ing Cal­ton up along­side founder David Bryce, Davie is now part of the vol­un­teer com­mit­tee at the group as well as work­ing full­time as a child and youth worker.

He reck­ons the trip shows how much things have changed for Cal­ton: “Over the years the club has changed, there used to be a big em­pha­sis on the foot­ball team.

“I had a promis­ing ca­reer my­self and played for Scot­land school­boys.

“Foot­ball was our flag­ship pol­icy to get peo­ple in but in re­cent years it’s been dif­fer­ent, with more peo­ple get­ting into hill walk­ing. We done the West High­land Way and then done some Munros. One of the boys, Peter McDer­mott, said he wanted to go to Nepal. He ac­tu­ally got lost once hill­walk­ing and met a girl called Heather who knew about the group and put him on a course, that ended up with us go­ing to Aus­tria, which was fan­tas­tic.”

De­spite the group’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to make it to Nepal, it may have

re­mained a pipedream but for a chance meet­ing between 47-year-old bus driver John and Mungo Ross, an in­struc­tor and ex­pe­di­tion leader with ex­pe­di­tion or­gan­is­ers Jagged Globe.

John helped an old man up the stairs of his dial-abus one day when he met the pas­sen­ger’s neigh­bour - who turned out to be Mungo.

The pair got talk­ing and Mungo is now train­ing the en­tire group be­fore their trip.

John, who stays on Stra­vanan Road, first ap­proached Cal­ton 12 years ago having been us­ing and abus­ing drink and drugs for 20 years.

He said: “I never thought in a mil­lion years I would be do­ing any­thing like this.

“I couldn’t even make it to the top of Castlemilk Drive, and you cer­tainly wouldn’t have let me take a group of peo­ple up there. It’s just an ab­so­lute dream.”

Cal­ton Ath­letic has been help­ing in­di­vid­u­als re­cover from drug and al­co­hol ad­dic­tion through unique ab­sti­nence based pro­gramme since 1985.

They are now look­ing to raise £40,000 to make their dream trip a re­al­ity and re­cently ap­peared on TV to tell their story.

Davie reck­ons the trip is some­thing those strug­gling to stay clean can cling too: “Some­thing like this gives you fo­cus over the next two years.

“It’s a goal for peo­ple com­ing through. Re­cov­ery is not just about your phys­i­cal state, but it’s about get­ting bet­ter men­tally as well and they know if they want to do this trip they will need to stay clean and sober.

“Peo­ple also think we have shut down so this raises the pro­file.”

For more in­for­ma­tion go to­to­nath­leti­cre­cov­ery­ or www. go­fundme. com/ cal­ton- ath­letic where do­na­tion can be made.

I could not even make it to the top of Castlemilk Drive



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