Thanks to all who made a difference for others at Xmas, and throughout the year

21 Dec


Families who had been facing a bleak Christmas are now looking forward to the big day, after a ”moving” show of generosity by Faculty members and staff.

A collection of presents, treats and more than £2,000 in cash was organised by Maria Maguire, QC, and a van-load of goods was delivered to the family support charity, Home-Start Glenrothes.

“Parents had been coming to us in tears, worried about what they were going to do at Christmas,” said Janie Tydeman, of Home-Start Glenrothes.

“We were able to reassure them, tell them that presents would be coming, and it meant an awful lot to them and took away so much anxiety. The Faculty has donated so much that every parent has had a present as well. I am completely overwhelmed and it’s just wonderful.

“A typical message came from a mum, aged 17, who texted: ‘Thank goodness for Santa Maria. It has really, really helped me out and I can’t wait to see Ruby’s face on Xmas Day.’ “

Ms Maguire said a huge thanks was due to all who donated and helped with the collection.

“Members and staff have truly embraced this cause. I have been moved by their generosity…there was a tremendous desire to change the lives of the families who need help. The collection was a fantastic success,” she added.

In other Festive events, the Faculty Choir raised funds for Edinburgh City Mission - £1,915 - at its Christmas carol concert. And the proceeds of sales of the Faculty Christmas card - £1,068 - also went to the mission and the Care Van to assist in their work with the homeless, while staff donned Christmas jumpers and made £126 for Shelter Scotland.

During the year, members and staff helped others in so many different ways, and made a contribution to the community and society.

With training from David Parratt, the Faculty’s Director of Training and Education, students from St Maurice’s High School, Cumbernauld, reached the final of the Law Society of Scotland’s Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament.

A cake bake arranged by the HR department raised £200 for Leuchie House, East Lothian, which provides respite breaks for people with long term conditions and their families.

Faculty Superintendent Irene Cumming completed 10k in the Great Scottish Run, and also organised a cake sale, and donated £1,027 to Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland.

The Advocates Library opened to the public for Doors Open Day and 295 people enjoyed tours which included the main corridor, the Law Room and the Laigh Hall.

David Bartos, Advocate, ran the Glen Nevis 10k in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and raised £835.

The Faculty’s Criminal Appeal Service agreed to pursue an appeal free of charge for an animal charity, Saving Saints Rescue UK, and at the Sheriff Appeal Court, Moira MacKenzie won a reprieve for Douglas, a St Bernard dog which had been ordered to be destroyed for attacking a dog and its owner.

Alison Wild, Advocate, took part in the Edinburgh Culture Crawl, and completed the ten-mile walk in three hours and 40 minutes to raise £2,000 for Maggie’s Centres. And she opened her garden through the Scottish Gardens Scheme and raised just over £600, a fifth of which went to each of Maggie's Centres, Hobkirk Church, Lavender Trust, the Garden Fund for National Trust for Scotland, and the Queen's Nursing Institute. 

Staff made donations to come to work in their denims and raised £100 on Jeans for Genes Day.

Cycling counsel, Neil Mackenzie, took part in the 110-mile Pedal for Scotland Big Belter for the STV Children’s Appeal and made £451.

A team from Dean’s Secretariat – Carole Ferguson-Walker, Catriona Thomson and Andrew Tregoning – with Irene Cumming, Faculty Superintendent, raised £1,045 for the Multiple System Atrophy Trust by running the Kelpies Supernova 5k.

The Faculty provided a venue, the Mackenzie Building, and tea and coffee for a fundraising soul and gospel concert by Edinburgh’s Phoenix Choir which made £650 for the Child Brain Injury Trust’s Scottish Child and Family Support Project.

The Ampersand Stable donated £2,865 to A Smile for a Child, after members Fiona Drysdale and Dana Forbes with clerks Alan Moffat and Cheryl Stevens ran the Great Edinburgh Run, and Lauren Sutherland, QC, ran in the Edinburgh Marathon Festival. Donations were also taken at its annual Clinical Negligence Conference.

The first Eid lunch for Scottish lawyers was hosted by Usman Tariq, Advocate, and co-sponsored by the Faculty and the Law Society of Scotland.

A scheme which helps claimants at hearings of the Employment Appeal Tribunal was applauded by Mr Justice Langstaff, President of the EAT. The pro bono representation scheme was organised by the Faculty’s Free Legal Services Unit, and Mr Justice Langstaff said: “Those professionals who give their time so freely and reliably to assist litigants where it is desired deserve praise.”

Catriona Thomson, of Dean’s Secretariat, finished the Edinburgh Marathon and donated £805 to Pancreatic Cancer UK.

Ken Maxwell, Faculty Officer, made it ten consecutive years of assisting with the Poppyscotland collection day. For four of those years, he has also been a volunteer befriender for the Leonard Cheshire Disability charity, going on monthly outings with a man living in supported accommodation.

Away from the Bar, you are likely to find Scott Blair mucking out and whatever else needs doing at the Animal Welfare and Rescue Charity, which primarily helps abandoned, ill and elderly or ill-treated horses, at Howwood Stables, Renfrewshire.

Through the Society of St Vincent de Paul, Paul Brown each month co-ordinates a kitchen at the Ozanam Centre, Glasgow, which provides a Sunday lunch to around 50 homeless men and women. His local branch of the society, at St Ninian’s Church, Kirkintilloch, also makes weekly collections for furniture, food and clothing for those who have fallen on hard times.

A recital by Anna Poole, QC, raised £1,000 for the restoration fund of St Michael and All Saints Church, Edinburgh.

A book sale and swish in the Faculty, held as part of Book Week Scotland and organised by Jane Condie of the Advocates Library, raised £500 for the Scottish Book Trust.

Njavwa Mulwanda (Finance), Liz Archibald (Clerking) and Christine Timmins (HR) raised £500 for Race for Life Cancer Research UK by completing the Pretty Muddy challenge.

Senior and junior counsel, Dorothy Bain , QC, and Claire Mitchell, worked pro bono in the preparation of a landmark human rights case involving a woman, a complainer in a criminal case, who had been denied legal aid to be represented when her alleged abuser sought to recover her medical records.

And in another example of pro bono work by an advocate, David Cobb helped 150 residents  in Leith fight successfully against losing their homes.

Terra Firma Chambers supported Kids Love Clothes, a charity which provides quality, donated clothes to children.