Bloom­ing won­der­ful

Big-hearted grans are first win­ners of our un­sung he­roes prize

Rutherglen Reformer - - Say It With Flowers - Niki Ten­nant

Two car­ing grans, who have opened up a new world of fun and friend­ship for To­ry­glen pen­sion­ers, have be­come the first re­cip­i­ents of stun­ning bou­quets in the Re­former’s new Say it with Flow­ers com­pe­ti­tion.

When Meika Thom­son read that the Ruther­glen Re­former wanted to say ‘thanks a bunch’ ev­ery week to un­sung he­roes who make a real dif­fer­ence to their com­mu­nity, she didn’t hes­i­tate to nom­i­nate her mum Cathy and best friend Suzanne Cur­ran for a beau­ti­ful bou­quet from Burn­side florist, Stems.

Cathy and Suzanne, who have run the To­ry­glen Af­ter School Care club for 23 years, re­fused to turn the other cheek when they saw pen­sion­ers from a neigh­bour­ing shel­tered hous­ing com­plex stay­ing in­doors, liv­ing in iso­la­tion and lack­ing com­pany and com­pan­ion­ship.

Say­ing hello to Cathy and Suzanne as they passed the Ge­off Shaw com­mu­nity cen­tre where the af­ter school club meets was of­ten the only in­ter­ac­tion some of the pen­sion­ers from the This­tle Hous­ing com­plex had.

When Pol­madie Fire Sta­tion do­nated a snooker ta­ble to the club nearly three years ago, Cathy and Suzanne saw it as an op­por­tu­nity to per­suade elderly res­i­dents to leave their arm­chairs and drop into the cen­tre for a game of snooker and a chat.

A res­i­dent from the hous­ing com­plex spread the word among his neigh­bours and soon eight men were go­ing to the cen­tre to while away their after­noons and evenings with a game of snooker and friendly ban­ter.

Glas­gow Life’s Mark Hud­son sug­gested es­tab­lish­ing a sports hub in the cen­tre and ad­vised Cathy and Suzanne how to ap­ply for fund­ing.

Thanks to the two grans, car­pet bowls, team ten­nis, boc­cia, bad­minton, sit­ting tai chi and com­put­ing classes were soon added to the list of ac­tiv­i­ties on of­fer at the cen­tre for To­ry­glen pen­sion­ers.

“We had a mar­vel­lous time get­ting to know them,” said, Cathy, 61, of King’s Park.

“At first, they were gen­tle­manly, but within two weeks, they’d come out of their shell and were just be­ing them­selves.”

Be­fore she and Cathy stepped in, Suzanne said elderly res­i­dents from the hous­ing com­plex on Ker­ry­la­m­ont Av­enue would pass each other as strangers on the way to the lo­cal shops. Now they are friends who are in and out of each other’s homes.

“It is just won­der­ful, see­ing the dif­fer­ence in their lives,” said 49-year-old Suzanne, of To­ry­glen.

“See­ing them from hardly walk­ing to to­tally chang­ing is mar­vel­lous. One man did not go out the house af­ter los­ing his wife a cou­ple of years be­fore, and he just loved the com­pany.”

Vol­un­teers Cathy and Suzanne or­gan­ised a bus to take the neigh­bours on a day trip to Ayr - and the ap­pre­cia­tive group paid for the pair’s seats to the sea­side.

The two women are now plan­ning their an­nual pen­sion­ers’ Christ­mas lunch at which kids from the af­ter school club will de­light din­ers by singing carols.

In nom­i­nat­ing her mum and Suzanne, Meika told the Re­former: “Some of these men had not even been out­side their doors in over a few years, so this got them back into the com­mu­nity. Most re­cently, they have set up a mem­o­ries group where they meet and talk about the past.

“These groups have cre­ated a great feel­ing and the res­i­dents have cre­ated a great re­la­tion­ship with Cathy and Suzanne and also give the kids from the af­ter school a wee hello when they pass by.”

Chok­ing back the tears as Meika pre­sented them with the Stems’ bou­quets, Cathy said: “I am speech­less. We don’t of­ten get a pat on the back. That’s not what we do this for. But to be ac­knowl­edged like this is sim­ply won­der­ful.”

To nom­i­nate some­one for a hand-crafted bou­quet from Stems, send your name, ad­dress and con­tact num­ber, the name of the per­son you wish to nom­i­nate and in­for­ma­tion about why you think they de­serve to re­ceive the Bou­quet of the Week to: Say It With Flow­ers com­pe­ti­tion, Ruther­glen Re­former, One Cen­tral Quay, Glas­gow G3 8DA, or email news@ ruther­glen­re­former.co.uk.

En­tries should ar­rive by on Mon­day. If yours is the win­ner, our re­porter will con­tact you to ar­range for the flow­ers to be de­liv­ered to the win­ner. We’ll cap­ture the mo­ment on cam­era, and share your un­sung hero’s story and your ap­pre­ci­a­tion for all they do, in the pages of the Re­former.

We don’t of­ten get a pat on the back

Thanks a bunchCathy Thom­son, left, with daugh­ter Meika Thom­son and best pal Suzanne Cur­ran

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.