I was born on Boxing Day 1929, yes I am 75 years old now. I was born and bred in Glasgow, in the Cowcaddens to be precise, although I have been living in Bishopbriggs since 1959 (I am still considered an incomer). At age 18 I was conscripted into the Army and sent to Fort George near Inverness for basic training.
From there I was posted to Trieste in Italy as part of a United Nations Peace-keeping Force, code-name BETFOR for British Element Trieste Force. During this service, the jeep I was driving went over a land mine which blew me up along with the vehicle. As a result I had my leg amputated below the knee (this causes people to say "that's not so bad then"). My pelvis was quite badly damaged as well, making walking a bit difficult.
I married my wife Jean some 49 years ago. We are blessed with a son James aged 43, and a daughter, Aileen now aged 36 ,who in turn provided us with 2 grand-daughters, Lynsey, age 16, and Mary-Jane, age just 8. I live a full and normal life and have not missed out on anything life has had to offer. Except maybe for failing to fulfil any potential I may have had as a footballer.
In fact for over forty odd years I have a member a member of B.L.E.S.M.A. or British Limbless Ex-Servicemens Association and for over ten years I was on the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee of the Limbless Association, as well as being a visiting councellor and adviser to pre and post operative amputees, making home and hospital visits to advise and help fellow amputees wherever I could.
However, 4 years ago, two heart attacks quickly following each other meant I had to slow down a great deal. Now that I am back in good health I am thinking of taking up the reins once again and maybe putting myself forward for re-election . I have also had a "swimming" leg made for myself by my prothesist, which enables me to take as much excercise as I need.
Sad to say however, Jean and I never got to celebrate our Golden Wedding. She took ill on 29 December 2003 with suspected diabetes. We managed to get her admitted to hospital at 8.00 pm and she seemed quite settled when we left her.
Until, that is, I received the dreaded phone call at 1.00 am on 30 December telling us to get to the hospital as quickly as possible.
Strange as this may sound, I actually felt Jean's leaving me and when we arrived we were told she had taken a massive heart attack most unexpectedly and they couldnt save her. She died so peacefully. It was such a shock to us - she had never been ill in all our married life.
That is why I stopped writing, I was so devastated and even now I can hardly take it in. I am so desolate and lonely. I was in a sort of limbo for six months after she died and even now, I still can't believe the events of that night.
We had made arrangements to celebrate our Golden Wedding on 22 May 2004, booked a hotel and a meal. We had bought each other new gold rings and for some strange reason Jean had given me my ring on my birthday on 26 December 2003.
We had been married for 49 years, 7 months and 8 days in all and I loved her for every minute.