By Alastair Brian
As the holiday started, pupils from the Southside Primary School, St Angela’s, proved they had the X Factor by writing a charity single for Malawi.
All proceeds from their song – ‘Miles Apart’ – will go to the Scottish charity Mary’s Meals to feed 60 Malawian children for a year.
St. Angela’s Head Teacher, Brendan Duff, is very proud of his P6 pupils, who wrote the lyrics and melody with help from their teachers. He said: ‘During Religious Education (RE) the pupils were learning about people we admire and they learned a little bit about a man named Magnus who started Mary’s Meals.
‘It was then decided, in music, to try to write a song that we could sell for the charity. The youngsters learned about writing lyrics through poetry and as a class they made up a melody.
‘As a school we are delighted with the result. It’s been a good experience for everyone to take part in the recording process.
‘Our aim is to see if we can raise as much money as possible for the charity.
‘We feel that this is a very worthwhile cause because Mary’s Meals currently feeds over 600,000 children every day across the world.
‘In Malawi it costs just £7.00 to feed a child for a year and our school wants to do everything we can to contribute.’
Mary’s Meals was created in 2002 by Magnus McFarlane-Burrow, as an extension of his Scottish International Relief (SIR) charity. A chance meeting with a family in Malawi,while he was working on a famine relief project, led to a whole new area of work. A mother was dying of AIDS and lying on the floor of her hut surrounded by her six young children. She said that all that was left for her was to pray that someone might look after her children after she died.
Then Magnus asked her oldest son what he hoped for in life. His reply: ‘To have enough food to eat and to go to school one day,’ was not easily forgotten.
This was the main inspiration for the Mary’s Meals programme, which aims to provide one meal every school day for chronically hungry children. This way the children are encouraged to gain the education they need to lift themselves from a life of poverty.
Today the Mary’s Meals initiative provides meals to impoverished children in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe and South America.
The charity’s Education co-ordinator said: ‘I visited St Angela’s school recently and I was very impressed by their whole approach – from working out how much it costs to feed a child in maths; to writing the lyrics for the song in music. This has been an enriching, learning, experience for every young person involved. It’s also lovely that it’s children here helping less fortunate children in Malawi.
‘Mary’s Meals is delighted that the school chose our charity and we would like to thank everyone for their continued fundraising efforts.’
The song is available on iTunes, Amazon, and CDbaby, and costs 89p.
In the epic battle between the weather and the Anderston Winterfest, played out over the festive period, it was the latter that won and Christmas joy prevailed.
The fourth showing of the annual event was scheduled for Friday 3 December but the weather bared its teeth and organisers chose to retreat and fight another day.
A prudent decision, and on 17 December the weather was caught napping and the event soared ahead.
Local Councillor Philip Braat said the free event at Anderston Kelvingrove Church was a great success. Said Philip: ‘Highlights of the evening included a performance from X-Factor finalists, the MacDonald Brothers, Tram Direct’s traditional pantomime Christmas Crackers and the great judiciary Santa Clause making an appearance to sort out the naughty from the good.’
Cllr Braat was busy himself, given the job of switching on the Christmas lights! Added Philip: ‘Throughout the evening there was also face painting, clowns and local school choirs from Anderston Primary, St Patrick’s Primary and Glasgow Gaelic School.’
Having resolutely slipped under the weather’s radar, the Anderston Winterfest concluded with a spectacular fireworks display, with all festive eyes to the skies!
Bereaved parents Robert and Sandra McGuire handed over a cheque for nearly £1000 to the Schiehallion Trust in memory of their daughter Claire.
The Trust raises funds for the Schiehallion Ward of Glasgow Hospital for Sick Kids at Yorkhill.
Claire was treated in that ward after being diagnosed with a Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumour – a form of cancer. But despite all efforts, Claire died in August, aged only 15.
Robert told the LOCAL NEWS how they managed to raise the money: ‘At Claire’s funeral a collection went round and people gave very generously. Then a fun run was organised with the Cumbernauld Police. At Whiteinch Primary School they arranged a Yellow day in Claire’s memory- yellow was her favourite colour. And pals of hers arranged a party night. Altogether we received £960.’
Claire’s secondary school, Abercorn, planted a tree in the school grounds to remember her.
The money raised, was handed to Karen Marshall in the playroom of the Schiehallion ward on Monday 29 November. Karen is an outreach nurse and tended to Claire at home so that she did not have to spend all her days in hospital.
Karen told LOCAL NEWS: ‘The Schiehallion Trust is used to make sure kids in this ward have the right surroundings – from equipment to toys. The NHS can only provide so much, so this donation from Robert and Sandra is essential. It has not been long since they lost their daughter and I’ve a lot of admiration for their courage in coming here.’
Robert and Sandra wanted to make the donation because the staff in Sciehallion had helped their daughter during her illness. Said Robert: ‘Claire spent many days here and the hospital and its staff were always very good to her. We want to give them something back and we want to make the kids who need to come here, as comfortable as possible.
Claire was diagnosed at the end of 2009 and went into remission after an operation in January this year. However, the symptoms returned and nothing could be done. Robert and Sandra were determined that their daughter should experience as much as possible in the time she had left.
Said Robert: ‘ She still went to school – for half days – and the school was happy because she was very popular. She was visited in hospital by the McDonald brothers and she was delighted by that. In May, we took Claire to Disneyland in Paris and she had a fantastic time. She had four days of sunshine.’
Home Showcase for Leon Jackson
Best known for being an X Factor winner, Leon Jackson is looking forward to coming home to Glasgow on a whistle-stop visit. Fans can see him at the o2 ABC in Sauchiehall St on July 10 for an intimate gig.
He applied to audition for the X Factor as a way to gain experience and things took off from there. Leon’s style has changed and developed a lot since 2007 and he is now much more in control of the writing and producing of his music. He has been working on new material in the studio recently and feels happy with his more relaxed, honest style. The new songs are his own project and have a rich, three dimensional feel that really does reflect how much more comfortable he feels with this new acoustic direction. The sound is simple and the production minimal. At the moment there is no clear timescale for the release of the new material but the o2 ABC showcase will offer a sneak preview as well as, possibly, some amazing covers like Ernie Halter’s Lighthouse or Different Lives. Don’t make assumptions based on a talent show, Leon’s found his own style