News from ACCORD

This is your life – ACCORD Volunteer Lawrence

Lawrence Gilgallon, Volunteer Extraordinaire with the Hospice was recently interviewed on Zoom by Ian Low for ACCORD’s ‘This is Your Life’. Here is a summary of what was a very thoughtful and entertaining afternoon with many thanks to both Ian and Lawrence.

Born in “Kelvingrove”….ohhh get me…in June 1954 (No! I hear you say) and moved within 3 months to a one bedroom flat at 71 Causeyside St where I resided for 25 years.  Dad was killed in a coach crash (with a party from Smithycroft school( in May 1974 and lost mum (Irene well known figure in Paisley council) in 2006.  I am the eldest and have a brother in Troon/brother in London and sister in Albuquerque NM.  Thinking back, quite a squeeze to have 4 kids/2 cats and a dog all crammed in to one flat.

Very happy family life and with Dad securing a company car (first one in a Mini van in 1961), we all piled in to the van and had wonderful trips to England/North of Scotland and all places local like Stevenson where I remember the ‘jaggy grass’ in the sand.

Educated at South Primary and my plans to be a TV cameraman went down the tubes when I failed that dreaded 11 Plus (for some reason you had to have Higher Maths and my school journey was not going to deliver my goal).  Then went To Williamsburgh secondary (where Mum attended in the 1930’s) and finished up at Reid Kerr College doing a business studies course.  Fair to say that in my younger years, I could have done better at concentrating on the lessons rather than have had my head in the clouds…….as my Gran once said…”Sometimes your head is full of Mince (more of that later)”.

I have to owe my career in Financial Services to a local college lecturer Hugh Niven who pointed me to apply for a job at The Scottish Mutual Assurance Society (SMAS) as a junior clerk in May 1971.  Many of us have key figures who touch/shape our lives and thanks Mr Niven for allowing me to enjoy 36 very happy years at the one company.  The company went through a few owners and I ended up working for Santander as a Senior manager in Financial Services and travelling (3 return flights a week) throughout the UK brokering large deals and meeting many people from all walks of life. I recall one of my nieces saying” What do you actually do Uncle Lawrence”?   In summary…..A relationship manager.  In my Sales career, had many exciting opportunities (a few are):   Having dinner at the Twin Towers in NY/Flying from NY to London on Concorde/Ski-ing in Austria/Trip to Venezuela and a 5 star trip to Paris.  Santander decided to sell the Life Division and I was given a package (aged 53) to ‘retire’ in 2007 and through the good offices of Jim Wardrop, the start of my journey as a volunteer at ACCORD.  I had a ‘wee’ consultancy job in Bristol/London from 2007 and fully retired last February.

Married Liz at the High Church in 1979 (how has she put up with me?) with Jack Robertson and Bob King officiating.

Hobbies:  Golf/Travelling/1960’s/70’s pop trivia. Quizzes (apart from Tipping Point)Garden.

Favourite meal?   I have had the pleasure of dining with a few personalities in my career (Brucie/Jimmy Tarbuck/Russ Abbot/Judith Durham (Seekers) and Royalty.   As a result top class meals in some fantastic venues HOWEVER my choice to the question Mince/Tatties and Cabbage.  My Gran spoiled us with her favourite recipe and hey=r magic mince pan……iron and black.

Film is one of the classics One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest.  I had to sign a Dr up once in a hospital in the East end of Glasgow and when the medicine cabinet came out you could see some of the patients cower in fear…have never forgotten that image which has been with me for over 40 years.   The film was telling/informative/sad/funny and when the native American smashes the window at the end…you just want to jump up and clap!!

Tv shows;   Repair Shop (what does Jay do apart from say “You take care now and Allo”?)/as a child Blue Peter and Line of Duty…as you read this the last episode of the current/Last? Series has been shown was H the donkey referred to by Hastings???

Book.   Back to school, now focussing, only read a few books and I loved the 39 steps by John Buchan…..also recall a book by Neville Shute but can’t remember the name.

What would surprise you about me?…….Nothing I hear you say.   I was heavily involved in the YMCA (having only joined for table tennis in 1968) and held most official posts over the 20 years of involvement.  Liz and myself were also ‘famous’ for the Junior Discos held on a Friday evening….packed out every week and our treat was a Fish tea at Castelvecchi before the mayhem.   I was honoured to be President of Paisley in 1983 during the centenary celebrations and on the National scene was Vice Chairman of the Scottish YMCA for 2 years.  One of my other roles nationally was to head a committee raising funds for International emergencies.  After visiting a refugee camp in Austria, decided to organise something different to raise money and awareness on what was happening on our doorstep in Europe.  Would suspect that (at the time in 1987) I was the trailblazer for what is now a common way of securing support.  I gathered some famous names from Tv/radio and the media along with local firms to cycle from Glasgow to Dehli in 3 days.   Raised over £17500.00 and we covered the distance by using static exercise bikes.   House of Fraser allowed us to use their premises for the event which kept going day and night along with a huge map in their window which lit up as we covered the globe.

Have had a great life and blessed to meet many interesting people from all over the World, here’s to the next 67 years!!