Charity drive targets £10k

Jillian and Tam promote their games night at Fir Park.
Jillian and Tam promote their games night at Fir Park.

Big-hearted home help Jillian Gillen is aming to raise £10,000 for a stroke charity after being inspired by a client she helped care for.

The Motherwell woman’s efforts will include abseiling from a 150-foot crane - a prospect that terrifies her.

But this week there was an encouraging ‘Gaun yerself hen’ as radio personality Tam Cowan gave Jillian his support.

The pair were at Fir Park to publicise a games night she is holding there next month.

Jillian is raising money for Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland. The idea came after the death of Bobby Watson a few months ago after suffering a stroke.

Bobby, dad of Times & Speaker photographer Alan, lived at Ravens Court sheltered housing complex in Motherwell where Jillian worked.

She said: “Seeing the effects the stroke had on him and his family inspired me to do something for the charity.

“Although Bobby was my main inspiration, I have many older clients and family members who suffer chest and heart problems so it felt natural to choose this charity.”

Gary, Jillian’s husband, set the ball rolling by abseiling from the Forth Rail Bridge in October and the couple are planning to tackle Clydebank’s Titan Crane in March.

Jillian said: “I’m terrified at the thought, but I’m determined to give it a go. It was bad enough watching Gary at the bridge as he seemed to go down so quickly, but he loved it.”

A friend’s son, 11-year-old Ryan Kelly, raised money for the appeal by washing neighbours’ cars in Carfin. His gran had a stroke so he was desperate to help out.

Jillian has held a boot sale and sold football cards, and there are plans for bucket collections too.

For now the focus is on a games night at Fir Park, hosted by Tam Cowan, on Friday, February 17.

Jillian explained: “We plan to have lots of fun with pass the parcel, musical statues, Irish bingo and more, plus karaoke.”

Tickets are available from Jillian on 07714462869. See also and Or if you want to donate £5 text JILG99 £5 to 70070

Ainslie Mason, of CHSS said: “We’re incredibly grateful to Jillian. Without her generosity of time and energy, we could not continue to support people affected by these debilitating conditions.”