Much more important this week has been the airing of the ITV programme Holding Out for a Hero. A hundred or sea friends of East Renfrewshire Good Causes gathered on Sunday evening to watch the broadcast, only a handful of us knowing the outcome. It was riveting viewing, gripping stuff in a game show sort of a way, more so for those in the dark.
Russell Macmillan is pretty much always in the dark, blind for more than 20 years, and recently with the trauma of having his right eye removed completely. But single-handedly he has poured almost £100,000 into his community in East Renfrewshire, aiding almost 500 people to live better lives.
Thanks to the astonishing trivia and brave tactics of Stephen McCarrey, Russell now has one hundred and twenty one thousand reasons to do more for his neighbourhood. For Stephen pulled out the right cards, tripled when he had to, and had us on the edge of our seats. He had five questions and faced a massive total of £92,000 to exceed if he was to see Russell presented with a cheque larger than the appearance money of £3,000. He did it in style, and went on to take the prize fund to £121,000.
Now, two months later, we can finally talk about it after being sworn to secrecy post filming. More importantly Russell can get down to business with the various front-line workers in identifying the causes that need his support. He has spent four years and more cajoling the rest of us into parting with a tenner a month, persuading other bodies to join together in providing laptops, swings, bikes, equipment for the mentally and physically disabled, facilities for those that can’t otherwise get them, and so much more.
And thanks to Stephen the very landscape has changed, but the principles of helping our neighbours goes on, and more will be helped, and they will be helped quicker.
For many Russell has long been a hero, but now Stephen too has to take a bow. Gentlemen your actions and your inherent need to do more are an example to us all, and they do indeed have consequences, all of them positive.