Apprentices of Buchanan Bespoke Footwear, recently meet their hero Sir Alex Ferguson, boss of Manchester United Football Club, to present him with a pair of leather shoes, hand made by senior craftsmen in Govan.
Based in Sir Alex’s home town of Govan, the company has been making high-quality tailored shoes for men for nearly 90 years.
Recently, it took on three new apprentices to teach them the craft of luxury footwear production using an exclusive range of fine leathers, linings, and soling materials.
Local lads, Andrew Harvey, 18, Scott Rennie, 17, and William Magee, 27, took a pair of size nine shoes for Sir Alex from the company’s headquarters in Helen Street to his offices in Manchester United’s training ground. There they were able to soak up the iconic atmosphere and deliver the brown brogues to Sir Alex in person.
The experience was particularly exciting for William who is a player for Harmony Row Football Club, of which Sir Alex is a patron and honorary member. William said: ‘It was a dream come true to meet Sir Alex. He is one of Britain’s greatest living football managers and I hope to see him wearing the shoes at a match on TV soon.’
Diana Currie, managing director of Buchanan Bespoke Footwear, said: ‘Our apprentices were thrilled to meet him. We have been providing high quality footwear since 1925. It is important that we keep the traditional hand crafted shoemaking skills alive. By taking on new apprentices we can create a new generation of experts. I wrote to Sir Alex to tell him about our commitment to training and our three new apprentices. He was only too happy to get involved with us as we are based in Govan – his home town.’
Cathy Black, head of textiles, Scottish Enterprise, said: ‘Our textiles and apparel industry in Scotland relies on meticulous processes and a highly skilled workforce. It is essential for companies like Buchanan Bespoke Footwear, to invest in the next generation through apprenticeships and ensure that skills are passed on allowing the industry to thrive. We know that the Buchanan team enjoyed their visit to meet Sir Alex and that they now have a new ambassador for their premier league products.’
Actor, funny man and stage presence for 60 years, Johnny Beattie was given Glasgow’s Loving Cup at a civic dinner on Thursday 5 April. ‘I was totally surprised,’ said Johnny who has starred in River City TV soap for ten years.
The fresh looking 85-year-old recollects with total clarity his first day treading the boards. ‘It was May 19th 1952 at the Tivoli in Aberdeen. I was with Robert Wilson who was the biggest name around in Scotland at that time. I was the comic – you could tell that by the pillerbox red suit I was wearing!’ Johnny who was honoured by the Queen some years ago with an MBE, added: ‘I’ll keep on working till I’m found out.’
The Loving Cup is Glasgow’s highest honour and is presented to a person who has brought distinction and honour to the Dear Green Place.
Lord Provost Bob Winter presided over the annual awards ceremony when a roll of honour of key people is thanked publicly by the city for their contribution to its wellbeing.
In what was almost his last public event as Lord Provost, Councillor Winter said: ‘This event is truly one of the most rewarding for me as the city’s Lord Provost. It is such a great occasion when we can honour people from diverse walks of life who all have one thing in common – a commitment to Glasgow and its people. I can think of no better way to express our gratitude to these outstanding men and women by celebrating their achievements this way and presenting them with the Lord Provost’s award and one of them with the Loving Cup.’
The gold awards are in the form of a medal and were given to:
Prominent Accident & Emergency consultant Mr Ian Anderson for improving the health of the people of Glasgow and in keeping the city at the forefront of postgraduate medical education. Based at the Victoria Infirmary, his views are frequently sought at national and international level. He is one of the founding Fellows of the Faculty of Accident and Emergency Surgeons and one of its longest serving Council Members. He was elected President of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow in 2009. He has also played a key role in establishing collaborations with Medical Schools and hospitals in the South of India.
BAE Systems Maritime received the Lord Provost’s award for business. It was accepted by Mr Angus Holt on behalf of the company which is on track to deliver six Type 45 Destroyers for the Royal Navy by the end of 2013. Four have already been handed over. It also produces Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers and the Type 26 Global Combat Ship among other complex engineering programmes and services. The yards at Scotstoun and Govan employ 3000 people which includes 140 apprentices and 30 graduates in training.
Professor Jane Duckett was presented with the Lord Provost’s Award for founding the Scottish Centre for China Research at the University of Glasgow. Since its establishment in 2008 it has developed distinctive new MSc programmes in Chinese Studies. A leading international scholar in contemporary Chinese politics, Professor Duckett was instrumental in setting up the Confucius Institute at the University in 2011. It is testament to her dedication to enhancing the understanding and knowledge of China in the communities of Glasgow and the West of Scotland, and her pledge to support the business communities as they reach out to work with Chinese industry.
Dame Elish Angiolini received the Lord Provost’s Award for her services to Law and Justice. Like Johnny Beattie, Dame Elish was born in Govan. She was Solicitor General from 2001 to 2006 and Lord Advocate of Scotland, and was the first woman, the first Procurator Fiscal and the first solicitor to hold either post. Appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2011 Birthday Honours for services to the administration of justice, Dame Elish holds honorary degrees of Doctor of Laws from Strathclyde, Glasgow Caledonian and Aberdeen universities. In September she will replace Andrew Dilnot as Principal of St Hugh’s College in Oxford.
Donald Shaw, founder of Capercaillie was presented with the Lord Provost’s Award for the Performing and Visual Arts. Through his work with the band he built up an international network of contacts and musical partnerships which he has grown in his work with Celtic Connections. A performer, composer, arranger and musical entrepreneur, Donald was acknowledged for his unique contribution to music in Scotland, and Glasgow in particular. His direction of the Celtic Connections festival makes it the city’s largest, most nationally and internationally significant festival.
Robert Booth, who retired in 2011 after 33 years’ service – latterly as Executive Director of Land and Environmental Services at Glasgow City Council – received the Lord Provost’s award for his public service. He joined Glasgow District Council in 1978 and fulfilled senior management roles in both Housing and Building Services before being appointed Director of Land Services in March 2003. In 2007 he became Executive Director of Land and Environmental Services, with responsibility for managing the city’s road network; parks and open spaces; parking; refuse services; enforcement; trading standards; and the design and project management resources of the council. He received an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June 2011 for services to local government.
The Lord Provost’s Sport Award went to Walter Smith, one of the most successful Scottish football managers in history. He managed Rangers (twice) and the Scottish national team as well as Everton, and was awarded the OBE for services to football in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 1997. Previous winners from the world of football in this category include Sir Alex Ferguson (1993) and Ally McCoist (1996).
Bailie Jean McFadden received her award for services to local government. The city’s longest standing councillor, she was first elected to Glasgow Corporation in 1971.
She held key positions in various areas of the council most notably as Leader of the Council (1979-1986) and 1992-94) and also including Opposition Leader (1977-1979), and Vice Lord-Lieutenant City of Glasgow from 1981 to 1992. She was also President of COSLA 1990-92 and City Treasurer 1986-92, and was awarded the CBE in 1992 for services to local government.
The Lord Provost’s Special Award for an Inspiring Individual was presented to Julie McElroy. Despite cerebral palsy, mobility problems and profound deafness, Julie has trekked in the Himalayas, canoed Loch Shiel.
She has used her expertise in assistive technology to make outdoor sports accessible to disadvantaged disabled young people in India. She is an ambassador for Bobath and has received the prestigious John Muir award after completing four adventure challenges and inspiring other disabled people to enjoy the great outdoors.
A showbiz styled centenary Oscars at Govan High School had it all – posh frocks and dinner suits, VIPs, excitement, red carpet and music all the way. Guest speakers were none other than First Minister Alex Salmond and songwriter Bill Martin who coached students to devise a new school song. Written by Tiree McDonald, Jennifer Baird, Jamie Lee Mckenzie and Shannon Foley, it was sung with gusto, by the Govan High Vocal Group. The theme echoed the school motto: ‘nothing without work’ and says: ‘we believe in working hard.’
In the school’s 100th year, ‘Headie’ Iain White was ushered in to the tune ‘I did it my way’ which was reflected in his comprehensive report. He said it had been a great year with centenary highlights including former pupil Sir Alex Ferguson coming to give a motivational talk to the school; a civic dinner hosted by the Lord Provost in Glasgow City Chambers; the Enterprise through Music first commercial CD being parachuted into the sports ground; double the anticipated number of 1949-1950 pupils turning up for a reunio; a ‘fantastic’ sports day now firmly re-established on the school calendar; Bill Martin, a former pupil who is renowned in the music world for songwriting which has won him three Ivor Novello awards, helping devise the new school song; a former pupils’ night held last month attracting 270 people and a major finale event scheduled for December.
A full account of the night will be put onto the LOCAL NEWS GLASGOW website asap.
Head Teacher Iain White pictured with guest speaker, Alex Salmond, First Minister and school Dux and Dysart Trophy and Whitelaw Prize recipient: Leigh Probert.
words by Grace Franklin. photographs by Stuart Maxwell
Two hours of tribute to Jimmy Reid who died on 11 August were not enough. The shipyard worker who led the 1970s work-in which saved shipbuilding on the Clyde, was given a worthy send-off on Thursday 19 August at Govan Old Parish Church.
And his legacy will live on because Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond told the congregation of more than 800 which overflowed into the church yard, that Jimmy Reid’s famous address when he was installed as Rector of Glasgow University, will be sent to every school along with video and back up material.
‘I want every pupil to have the chance to listen, see and be inspired – as we were inspired,’ he said.
‘In 2000 years time people will still recognise it for the masterpiece it is.’
The speech was printed in full at the time by the New York Times which described it as the greatest speech since President Lincoln’s Gettysburg address.
His opening words were ‘Alienation is the precise and correctly applied word for describing the major social problem in Britain today.’ He went on: ‘A rat race is for rats. We’re not rats, we’re human beings,’ and appealed for the rejection of the ‘insidious pressures in society that blunt your critical faculties.’
Coming so soon after the work-in where he impressed on the shipyard workers who were going to lose their jobs because of Government plans to stop shipbuilding on the Clyde, he said: ‘There will be no hooliganism, there will be no vandalism, there will be no bevvying because the world is watching us.’
And using that memorable phrase, his wife Joan and their three daughters had printed on the order of service: ‘The family requests that during this celebration of Jimmy’s life there will be no bevvying..’
That was not the only humour on the poignant day. Billy Connolly who said he was ‘ten years younger’ than Jimmy who was 78 when he died, admitted spending ‘many happy hours with Jimmy. Smoking, drinking and talking nonsense.’
Opening his speech, Billy Connolly said he was in deep trouble because: ‘everyone before me has spoken for a fortnight. I’ve only got a quick word.’ He then regaled the audience with stories of the shipyards when he was a tea boy to Willie McInnes and drew a colourful word picture of life in the yards at that time. ‘I loved Jimmy,’ said Billy with real emotion. ‘I’m going to miss him terribly.’
He went on: ‘He put complex things so beautifully simply that it knocked me back. His powers of observation and his love of fairness were simply amazing.’
Quoting actor John Sessions, Billy said: ‘So dies one great example of a Scot of working class character, verve, intellect and grace.’
From his trade union background, Bob Thomson of the Scottish Left Review and Jimmy Cloughley, formerly both colleagues of Jimmy, paid tribute to their fallen comrade.
‘Jimmy always believed that mergers of unions would make them stronger.’ said Bob Thomson. ‘He was a campaigner, strategic thinker and eloquent speaker. Altogether a charismatic man and a true internationalist.’ Once asked which university he had gone to, Jimmy replied: ‘Govan Library.’ Critical of all political parties, Jimmy always said ‘it is the ordinary family that pays the heavy price for the politician.’ recounted Bob, a friend for nearly 50 years.
Jimmy Cloughley was one of the co-ordinating committee when Jimmy Reid was the ‘electrifying orator.’
He said: ‘Jimmy gave us inspiration and hope. It was awesome to see Jimmy and Jimmy Airlie in operation. They were pivotal to the success of the work-in.’
Setting the industrial and political scene of the 1970s he described ship yard workers as ‘industrial gypsies.’ He said there was massive unemployment, but Upper Clyde Shipbuilders (UCS) had £19 million worth of order in June 1971 taking work forward to 1974. ‘But the Government was saying NO to £6million investment of working capital. Jimmy Reid told us we should be under no illusion that closure of the shipyards would be the death knell of Upper Clyde communities; sacrificed to political dogma. He refused to accept that faceless men made these decisions and told us to conduct the work-in with ‘maturity and dignity,” remembered Jimmy Cloughley.
Sir Alex Ferguson shared his memories of Jimmy never playing football but always having books under his arm. ‘But he was a great supporter. He was a great friend of the Iona Community and helping under priviliged people was his life’s mantra. He was a man who knew where he was going. When he spoke at an annual meeting of the Football Players League he was spell binding. He left us all with a bit more belief in ourselves. It was a great moment for me and all of us in football.’
Television personality and journalist David Scott, was the master of ceremonies for the service of celebration. A close friend of Jimmy’s from the 1970s, he thanked everyone who attended – some from as far away as Indonesia. He said: ‘We have lost a true son of Scotland.’
And while there was grief: ‘Joan has lost a loving and caring husband, their three daughters have lost a doting Dad and the grandchildren have lost their Papa. I’ve lost a dear and trusted, loyal friend; there is much to celebrate. Jimmy was a trade unionist, an orator, a lecturer, raconteur and journalist among many things. Undoubtedly he is one of the great British speechmakers and his words are as relevant today as when he made them. But Scotland feels diminished by his passing.’
An earlier service has been held in Rothesay on the Island of Bute where Jimmy lived. The funeral procession then went by ferry and road to Govan where he had been brought up. Passing the BAE Systems shipyard at Govan, the workforce stood along the route to pay their respects as the cortege passed. The yard hooter sounded and the flags were at half mast. On that day, appropriately, 20 apprentices started on three year craft apprenticeships as fabricators and welders with ten as technician apprentices working in Govan and Scotstoun yards.
Said current union representative Jamie Webster: ‘This wouldn’t have happened without Jimmy Reid and Jimmy Airlie. There would be no shipbuilding here without those two incredible men. When were were going through our own struggles in recent times, Jimmy phoned me to say we were doing fine and we’d get there. That was like the seal of approval from the Messiah.’
By Amir Rashid
Sir Alex Ferguson returned to his native Glasgow this week with the aim of inspiring the city’s youngsters.
The Manchester United manager paid a visit to his old school, Govan High, which is celebrating its centenary and gave a masterclass on leadership to 200 students and staff at Glasgow Caledonian University.
Sir Alex, who holds an honorary degree at the university, was delighted to be back in his hometown and see how much it has progressed since his time.
“It was fantastic to return to Govan – I had a great day. The interaction between pupils and teachers at Govan High is fantastic. It’s a different aspect of life from when I was at school – your teacher never really interacted with you – there is now a far more closer association with pupils from the teachers,” he said.
During his lecture at Glasgow Caledonian University, the former Aberdeen manager spoke of his time growing up in Govan and his career starting out as professional footballer.
He also spent time giving a team talk to the university football team and visiting the Caledonian Club, which works with children and young people.
“What Caledonian is doing is broadening its contact from kids to older people and opening its doors to everything. When you open your doors, it’s amazing how your knowledge gets wider.” said Sir Alex.