My Mum. The hero.

Gorman Family 2.jpg

My Mum is a quiet hero.

She won’t read this unless one of her more connected pals (or me) print it off for her.

But.  She is.  A hero.

I’m inclined to call her a heroine but I think that word may be becoming old school; like actress.  Most actresses prefer the moniker, actor, these days and I think that’s fitting for my mum to extend the convention.

So.  She’s a hero.

Some 30 years or so ago she started working at a homeless refuge called The Matt Talbot Association in Leith, in a building, an old church, that, I think, was called the Calton Centre, owing to its view of Calton Hill perhaps.

In any case, a homeless refuge, where men and women could drop in from the streets and share a cup of soup, some sandwiches and a little TLC.

It was unfunded.  So she took it upon herself to establish an annual wine and cheese party at Holy Cross Church Hall where the good people of the parish lavishly invested in the opportunity to win in an evening of booze fuelled raffles (entirely inappropriate given that many of the beneficiaries were alcoholics.)

Apart from the odd chocolates every single prize ever was bevvy.

We also had an indescribably indescribable Tombola where, if you were lucky, you might win a scented candle or a Big Slipper or a salt sellar or a moon bear purse or a ill-conceived picture frame containing a poorly worded aphorism.

One year my great friend, Mike Donoghue, came along at the end of the evening with a pal, a little refreshed, and proceeded to win a TV.

The star prize.

Two minutes through the door, ten pounds lighter of wallet, but a winner.

His embarrasement was tangible and he immediately put it back to re-raffle.

I’d have kept it.

You pays your money, you take your chances.

Anyway, the event  was an immediate hit and she and my dad persevered as we, gradually coming of age, as her children and in-law children, became her supporting cast.  My Dad: impresario in chief, and a born showman took centre stage and MC’ed the evenings to great effect.

Year after year the events raised between £1,000 and £3,000. but the day came, some 20 -25 years later, when the Talbot Association ran its course and that more or less coincided with my father also moving on to an observational, rather than participatory, role from the great parish of St Peters in the sky.

But this was meant, I think, because my Dad left this mortal coil at the venerable St Columba’s Hospice and, with the timing so appropriate, we shifted our new found energies to raising the evening’s funds for St Columba’s.

However, in March this year we decided the event, in round about its 30th year, had perhaps run its course.  My Mum had made, perhaps, £50,000 for The Talbot Association and had, in one fell swoop, funded its requirements year in, year out for the best part of a quarter of a century.

St Columba’s, being more organised, was able to confirm that in the seven latter years that they had become the beneficiary, had banked a few pounds short of £20,000.

My mum doesn’t go for bigging herself up, but, as she approaches her 80th birthday, and having finally taken a rest, I think she deserves a wee tip of the hat in acknowledgement of her determined achievements.

And I also think the generosity of the parish of Holy Cross should not go unacknowledged.

Of course, she has not achieved this alone.  Many people have been part of her team; Vic, Dougie, Gerry, Arthur, Annie, Robert, Chris, Angelo and more, many more.

Well done Mum.


Cheetah Outrage

My sister, Emily, has been putting in awesome shifts – for, like, months – over the past seven years in South Africa (many as a volunteer) in support of a phenomenal wildlife charity called Cheetah Outreach.

Their raison d’etre is neatly summed up in the following paragraph…

It took 4 million years of evolution for the cheetah to become the exceptional animal it is today and only 100 years for man to place it on the endangered list. Now the fastest land animal in the world is losing its most important race: the race for survival.  At the turn of the 20th century, an estimated 100,000 cheetahs lived throughout Africa and in parts of the Middle East and Central Asia. Today there are just 7,500 cheetahs left and South Africa is home to fewer than 1,000 of these majestic cats.  Cheetah Outreach is an education and community-based programme created to raise awareness of the plight of the cheetah and to campaign for its survival. 

This year Emily was joined for over a month of her stint by her partner, James, in South Africa as she once again set off to hand-rear a bunch of Cheetah cubs.

The impact on James was huge, and not surprising, given his tireless fundraising and lobbying on behalf of his own non-profit organisation; The Lion Foundation. (The Lion Foundation is a non-profit organisation providing an umbrella for an ad-hoc group of friends to do diverse fund-raising activities. Since 1994 they have rattled buckets, bungee-jumped, paraglided (or paraglid?), run raffles and Open Days for, volunteered with and published donated works in aid of seventeen charities including ATD Fourth World; Pestalozzi Children’s Village, Kent; The Monkey Sanctuary, Cornwall; NARA; Children with Leukemia; Aid to Romania; Willow Foundation; ACTV; The Tibet Foundation; Durrell, Jersey.)

To say that James is enthusiastic would be something of an understatement and having returned to these shores he has set to with vim, vigour and a roar to raise funds for Cheetah Outreach.  Consequently he’s organising a fundraiser – principally in his Devonshire hometown of Bantham but thanks to the www everywhere really.

That’s where I, and you, come in.

As Northern ambassador for James’ uber-enthusiastic activity I am now on the campaign trail, imploring you, my beloved reader, to show some support for his efforts.

And so, if you feel the plight of the Cheetah is worthy of a little support join us in raising money to keep this fantastic beast and wonderful charity in rude health.

All you have to do is pledge a little dosh via the following (no doubt by now familiar) mechanism.

Log on to and stick in a few bob.

Go on.  Go on.  Go on.

Who will win £100 and help Pego’s millions for St Columbas Hospice?

I’m running a sweep to guess when I will hit 1,000,000 views of my blog and the proceeds will be donated to St Columbas Hospice.

The reason I am doing this is because my blog first took off as I wrote about my dad dying whilst he was in St Columba’s.

So the deal is this.  Go to this link and Pledge £10 to guess when the magic millionth reader will  arrive and the closest to the time and day will win £100 and a bottle of champagne (put up by me and not taken out of the proceeds!).

Now, to give you a little help we currently sit at 964,124 views (at 8pm on Sunday November 7th).  I am currently averaging 786 views a day but it has been higher and lower.

At this rate I will hit Pego’s millions in 45 days. (About 21st December roughly?)

But will it be sooner and at what time?

You can enter as many times as you like.  Good luck.

James Benamore – Secret Millionaire

James Benamore. £136k light of his £77 million fortune.

James Benamore. £136k light of his £77 million fortune.

The 30 year old MD of The Richmond Group, James Benamore, was the latest millionaire to grace the screens of this wonderful programme.

Into its third series I can’t help thinking that some of the potential beneficiaries are pitching to the producers which loses some of its spontaneity.

Nevertheless, the sheer emotion that the programme generates can be overwhelming.

He was a good guy, was James Benamore.  An ex-wild child he went to Mosside in Manchester and found real and realistic charities to support.  A very likeable and genuine man.

Good on ya Jamesey.

New year in the merde

Well, it was cold at 11.30 on new year’s day here in Scotland. So, doing this sort of sillines wasn’t a good idea, except that we made a fortune For Maggies Cancer Care Centres. So it wasn’t so daft after all was it?

A very pertinent point Pete. (And nice use of alliteration).


But triumphal all the same…


It was OK for the RNLI. They were prepared for the weather…


In fact they were loving it…


The Speedos made an appearance as promised.


I even got me tits oot fur the giruls…


But they reciprocated!


And we all went away happy for another year.


For those of you who made a pledge, would you mind sending me a cheque to the house made out to Maggies Centres. If you don’t know my home address call me. I ain’t publishing it here. It might attract crackpots!

Thank you all for your support once again.

It’s all on film here but a tad slow to load.

Thanks for this Doug!

And here too…

Thanks Mike

And here

The season of goodwill is upon us and I sincerely ask for your support

Many of you will be aware of the unique, and I mean unique, event that is “The Loony Dook”.

Here’s a picture of it from the past.


First off, it is probably the least PC event held this, or any other, year and will no doubt at some point in the future be renamed “The not overly sensible swim.”

And that would be fine if that was what it was called, because that is what it is.

It is the coming together of several hundred people, on the morning of January 1st , at 11.30 am to swim in the River Forth at South Queensferry.

For the record, here is the weather forecast for the next five days to show you just what we are letting ourselves in for.


Of course, it might get warmer, it might get cooler. One thing is for sure. It ain’t gonna be Boca Raton!

So, why?

Why indeed?

And where do you, dear reader, come in?

The answer is simple.


My dear mate Terry Bryant had a nasty dust with cancer for a great deal of this year and decided he should bring some of his mates to their aid in terms of fundraising to support the respite centre, The Maggie’s Centres, who came to his aid when he needed them.

So, I am to bare my chest, my arse and my fortitude to the freezing Scottish winter so that you lot can have a laugh at my expense and Terry can help out Maggies.

Do me a favour.

If you’ve enjoyed even a moment of my ridiculous waffling on gibberish this year, post a comment committing to sponsor me in my moment of madness; sorry, non-conformism.

If not, have a happy Christmas all the same.

PS If, you’r reading this on your return to work after the New Year and you wished you could have helped. It’s not too late. I’ll be posting the evidence of my participation on this blog so you can be sure I delivered and I’ll happily accept sponsorship post event!.