Thanks for Xmas donations, and to all who gave help during the year

24 Dec

Members and staff of Faculty have been thanked for their “wonderful” response to a collection of Christmas presents and treats for vulnerable families.

Maria Maguire, QC, ably assisted by Irene Cumming, organised the collection for the charity, Home-Start Glenrothes, and tears were shed by thankful mums as a van-load of goods was delivered to Fife.

“Home-Start Glenrothes were so grateful to be able to make Christmas special for the families they support - the families were overwhelmed by the fact that they were able to have something for their children for Christmas.  Presents for the mums were wrapped for them to take and open on Christmas Day and this was an unexpected surprise for them,” said Maria.

Cash was also donated and will be used to buy food and essentials for the families, and Maria added: “It was a wonderful response by members and staff of Faculty. Home-Start cannot tell me every story but, for example, some children will now have a duvet instead of a sheet and one little boy, who lost his brother in an accident this year, is going to be receiving a lovely present from Santa thanks to their generosity.”

Janie Tydeman, of Home-Start Glenrothes said: “We have been so thrilled to receive all the wonderful parcels, and have had so many grateful and relieved parents. It has been fantastic. One mum, a single parent of six children, said, ‘This is going to be the best Christmas ever.’ “

During the year, many Faculty people have given time and effort in all manner of ways to help others.

The Tumbling Lassie Committee – Alan McLean, QC, Patricia Comiskey, Maryam Labaki, Eric Robertson, Janys Scott, QC, and Iain Mitchell, QC - raised £13,500 for the victims of human trafficking with a charity ball and seminar. The money went to two groups, TARA (Trafficking Awareness Raising Alliance) and the International Justice Mission.

Ampersand stable co-sponsored and organised a charity lunch and fashion show, while Alan Moffat, practice manager, ran the Edinburgh Marathon, and Cheryl Stevens, assistant practice manager, completed the Edinburgh Moonwalk, making a grand total of just over £20,000 for the Child Brain Injury Trust.

The Faculty Choir performed its 20th consecutive charity Christmas carols concert, adding to the many thousands of pounds it has donated to help the homeless through the Edinburgh City Mission.

Lawyers in Kenya and Myanmar received training from Faculty members Neil Mackenzie and Denis Edwards who volunteered their services.

Compass Chambers raised more than £1,800 for Alzheimer Scotland by asking delegates at free conferences to make a donation to the charity.

Julie Fitzpatrick, HR Manager, completed the Barcelona IRONMAN challenge – 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and a marathon – in 12 hours and 50 minutes, and raised £5,000 for the Pauline Fitzpatrick Cancer Research Trust at Strathclyde University.

Lauren Sutherland, Advocate, was part of a team which completed the London-Paris Bike Challenge and raised more than £3,500 for Darlinda’s Charity for Renal Research.

Members and staff raised £900 through a cake sale for the Nepal earthquake relief operation, and almost £480 was raised on Jeans for Genes Day.

Sir Crispin Agnew, QC, completed the 50-mile Edinburgh Night Ride in under four hours and raised £3,294 for Dyslexia Scotland.

Simon Gilbride, Advocate, ran the London Marathon for Get Kids Going and made more than £2,000.

Alex Bishop, of Facilities, abseiled from the Forth Bridge and made more than £200 for Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland.

The Free Legal Services Unit (FLSU) handled dozens of applications for pro bono assistance, and a case typifying the Unit’s value involved St Andrew’s Church, Golspie. For 15 years, church-goers had been fighting a losing battle with the local authority for disabled access to the churchyard.  Council officials had insisted it was the church’s responsibility, but a change of heart followed an Opinion, provided through the FLSU, and plans have been drawn up for an access ramp.

The Faculty became a supporter of the Cyrenians’ Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution (SCCR) which aims to help families overcome conflict and tackle youth homelessness. A SCCR event to mark Human Rights Day was held in the Mackenzie Building, with members giving young people an insight into human rights.

A London-based charity, Through the Looking Glass, which helps teenagers explore unexpected career paths, held its first programme of events in Scotland, and a day visiting and learning about the Faculty was voted “highlight of the week” by most of the students. 

MiniTrials were staged by the Faculty in Ayr and Edinburgh to help school pupils to learn about the justice system, and the final of the Bar National Mock Trial Competition, supported by the Faculty, was held in Parliament House. 

The Faculty hosted the launch of a publication aimed at helping youngsters to maintain contact with siblings after a split in the family. The publication was produced by Clan Childlaw, which provides children and young people throughout Scotland with free information about the law and their rights.