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Charity benefits after garden centre bosses say, ‘Play it again, Sam’

Sam Peoples

A partially-sighted pianist has been entertaining customers at his workplace to raise funds for charity.

Sam Peoples, from Duntocher near Clydebank, is employed part-time by Dobbies Garden Centre in nearby Milngavie, where he has worked for 11 years as a car park attendant and groundsman.

But the self-taught musician, 28, amazed colleagues with his skills when he took to playing the store’s piano on his tea breaks earlier this year.

And when a video of him performing attracted thousands of viewers on social media, managers decided to take him off trolley duty and give him a platform for his talents.

Sam, who is studying computing at Glasgow Caledonian University, was asked to take up residence in the centre’s café.

He is often given tips by his growing number of fans – but kind-hearted Sam insists that they are put in a collection bucket for St Margaret of Scotland Hospice, the store’s Charity of the Year.

He said: “My boss’s pal filmed me playing on her phone and put it on Facebook and more than 30,000 people watched it.

“So they said to me that they wanted me to do it permanently because it brings so many customers into the store.

“I just play for my own enjoyment, I’ve no interest in doing it professionally.

“I’m grateful to the management here for giving me the chance to do this and to McLaren’s Pianos in Glasgow, who donated the piano to Dobbies.

“I’ve raised money for St Margaret of Scotland Hospice before, when I was at school, and being from Clydebank I know about the reputation they have in the community.”

Sam first played the keyboard before he had started school and briefly took lessons at the age of seven.

Although he played in his spare time in the years that followed, Sam only began playing seriously three years ago when he was given a grand piano by a relative.

He is unable to read music because he is blind in one eye and can’t see fully from the other – meaning he relies on his ear to pick up melodies.

Sam’s disability resulted from being born prematurely, weighing just 2lb 2oz. The retina in his right eye detached from the optical nerve when he was given oxygen to aid his breathing.

He added: “I learn much better if I just listen to a tune and practise. I play all sorts of music, from the Eagles and Elton John to Dire Straits and the Stereophonics.

“But I’ve had to learn some of the older classics for the customers in the store – things like Elvis, Sinatra and Patsy Cline.”

St Margaret of Scotland Hospice Chief Executive Sister Rita said: “Sam’s talent and dedication are an inspiration and we are very humbled that he has chosen to raise funds for the Hospice in this way.

“We would like to say thank you to Sam and the management at Dobbies Garden Centre for their continued support.”

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Students’ road trip is a roaring success for the Hospice

A team of five intrepid students and lecturers from West College Scotland in Clydebank have taken on a Top Gear-style challenge across Europe to raise more than £800 for a local charity.

In two revamped cars, the group set off on the trip of a lifetime for the Motoscape Banger Rally, driving through 12 countries in seven days to reach their destination of Prague in the Czech Republic.

The quintet– students Allister Linstead, 26, from Knightswood; Christopher McKenzie, 18 from East Kilbride and David Henry, 29, from Paisley, accompanied by the college Motor Vehicle course’s curriculum and quality leader Alastair Fleming and technician Murray Miller – were rewarded for their dedication through donations to their chosen charity, St Margaret of Scotland Hospice, for whom they raised a superb total of £845.

They joined 29 other teams who took in the spectacular scenery of France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia and Czech Republic before arriving at their final destination in the Czech capital.

But before setting out, the students, under the watchful eye of their lecturers, had to work hard to get their cars in shape for the race, which took place in September.

But the repair work, like the trip itself, proved to be an amazing learning experience for the students.

Allister Linstead said: “Getting to drive cross country was an opportunity we may never get again so I’m delighted I was selected to be part of the team.

“As a team we got on great, which was just as well given that we had to spend up to nine hours a day in a car with each other.

“There was a great sense of team spirit across all the teams and everyone helped each other when needed.

“We were fortunate not to have any problems with our cars but others weren’t so lucky. Murray came to the rescue of the MG team who needed a whole new set up breaks fitted at the side of the road.

“It really was an awesome trip and given the chance, I’d jump at doing it again.”

David added: “It really was a trip of a lifetime. For me it was all about the scenery and driving meant we got to see parts of countries that you wouldn’t normally get the chance to see.

“The Stelvio Pass in Italy was the most challenging part of the journey. The bends are so sharp that we could see cyclists falling off their bikes but luckily we managed to get through it unscathed.”

One of the vehicles – an out-of-use Renault Megane – was donated by Whitecrook man Michael Smith and required some serious work to make it not only roadworthy, but able to cope with a round trip of more than 4000 miles.

Michael had considered selling or even scrapping the car but decided to speak to the College because he knew of their Motor Vehicle department.

He explained: “I had the car for six years when the exhaust from the backend went. I got it fixed and unbelievably, on the same day as it was fitted, the timing belt went too.

“My wife suggested donating it to the College. I knew they had a Motor Vehicle department so I came down and spoke to Alistair Fleming, who was more than happy to take it off my hands.

“Later he told me about their plans to take it across the country as part of the Banger Rally. I was delighted that they were able to put it to good use.

“My wife and I are delighted to see it doing something worthwhile and it’s great to see the car with a new lease of life. Congratulations to all the students involved.”

Alastair Fleming, who rallied the group together for the trip, added: “It was a tough but an enriching challenge to help raise money for St Margaret of Scotland Hospice.

“The students were selected based on their achievements and qualifications, including having a full, clean driving licence.

“The boys put the skills learned over the past couple of years to good use. They’ve proved they’ve got the ability so we had every faith in them.”

The total raised for St Margaret of Scotland Hospice was raised to £1334, after the students’ Motor Vehicle colleagues organised a car wash event which added £489 to the donations for the Rally.

Hospice Chief Executive Sister Rita said: “The students and lecturers who took part in this activity have gone to amazing lengths to support us and we are truly grateful for that.

“It is wonderful to hear about the learning experiences they have had and how the local community and College have clubbed together to make this possible for them.

“And of course, we are delighted that their efforts in the Rally have raised vital and welcome funds for the worthiest of causes.”

The department were commended for their efforts in a recent lunchtime ceremony at the Clydebank Campus.

The JustGiving page for the WCS rally team is still open if you would like to donate. Please go to

Special thanks to JLC in Dumbarton, German Auto Care, Zero Seven Graphics, Your Radio and Clyde Kitchens for their kind sponsorship.

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Lottery Results – 8 December 2017

Here are the lucky winning numbers for our December Hospice Lottery draw (Draw 56).

Congratulations to the winners and thank you to all those who take part.

To sign up to the Hospice Lottery, please call us on 0141 435 7018 or click here.


Winners do not need to claim their prizes, cheques will be automatically sent to their registered address.

Enquiries can be made by contacting the Lottery Office on 0141-435 7018.


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Sponsored Millport Bike Ride

Millport cycle

The Hospice’s annual Sponsored Millport Bike Ride takes place on Saturday, 11 June 2016.

Now in its sixth year, the Bike Ride – generously sponsored by the Dolphin Bar in Partick – offers Hospice supporters and their families and friends a chance to raise funds while enjoying a fun day out.

Those taking part will leave for Largs by coach from St Margaret of Scotland Hospice in East Barns Street, Clydebank, at 9am, returning between 5pm and 5.30pm.

Bicycles will be collected on arrival in Millport. Bike and helmet hire is included for everyone reaching the minimum sponsorship level, with participants asked to raise at least £50 to take part.

Certificates will be awarded to everyone who completes the 10-mile circular route around the island of Cumbrae.

Last year, around 30 supporters took part and were back in Millport by 3pm before heading back across the Firth of Clyde for home.

Please contact the Hospice fundraising department for registration
and sponsorship forms on 0141 435 7018 or email

Sister Rita, Hospice Chief Executive, said: “The Sponsored Bike Ride is our first outdoor event of the summer, with new events Choir in the Park and the Hospice Open Golf Competition following in the coming weeks.

“Even in poor weather last year, everyone who took part in the Bike Ride had great fun.

“A trip to the seaside is enjoyable for people of all ages and this day out in Millport offers a wonderful opportunity to bring children along to one of our events, while raising funds for the Hospice at the same time.

“We are grateful to the Dolphin Bar and to our supporters for their continued backing of this event and we hope to see you there on the day.”

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Q&A with Michael Reilly of the Singer Swingers for Ladies’ Lunch 2016


St Margaret of Scotland Hospice Ladies’ Lunch

When: Sunday, 22 May 2016 at 12.30pm

Where: Radisson Blu Hotel, Glasgow

Tickets: or 0141 435 7018


The Ladies’ Lunch is the next big event on St Margaret of Scotland Hospice’s packed events calendar.

There’s a top day of entertainment in store including a champagne reception, pop-up shops, a delicious three-course meal, a fantastic fashion show hosted by ITV’s Mark Heyes and superb musical entertainment from The Ragtime Dolls – whose harmony act will be the perfect accompaniment to the event’s Vintage theme.

But last and absolutely not least, there’s also a much-anticipated show from local band The Singer Swingers, who are becoming regular performers at the Hospice’s major events.

Their renditions of crooning classics by Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and many more from the swing era – coupled with their high-energy presence on stage and among the crowd – have made them a favourite of our guests and supporters.

We took some time this week to speak to Michael Reilly from the band. The trio are made up of Michael, 25, a financial services worker from Parkhall, Kevin Scullion, 29, from Linnvale, who works for Scottish Enterprise, and Mark Long, 31, from Hardgate, who runs a theatre school.

How did the Singer Swingers come about?

Michael: We met when we were all at Clydebank Musical Society and we got together four-and-a-half years ago almost by accident. Kevin and Mark had been in rock and indie bands. Kevin’s Dad’s partner was arranging a 50th birthday party for her sister, who loves swing music. Kevin’s Dad suggested we performed at it and we had all tried some swing music at karaoke so we already knew six or seven songs we could do. My Dad came up with name, which ties in with Clydebank’s Singer factory, and it all snowballed from there.

Do you have any personal connection to the Hospice?

M: Being from Clydebank you are always aware of the work Hospice does. I don’t have any personal connection but there are probably connections in my extended family because the Hospice has reached out to so many people in the area.

What is the best thing about performing at Hospice events?

M: We always get a great reception and the events are very well organised. The people connect with us and the American accents we put on help with the show. We are three guys from Clydebank, best pals, and people buy into that. They are there to support a local Charity and they connect with us – they are a really good crowd and enjoy what we are doing. At the Ladies’ Lunch they have a really good day out!

Do you have any surprises in store for guests this time around?

M: Last time (at the Annual Ball 2015) we did a surprise waiter routine and started singing from among the audience so we can’t do that this time – we would get recognised. But we will make sure we get everyone on their feet – they’ll have had Prosecco and there will be a party atmosphere and we’ll make sure everyone is enjoying themselves!

St Margaret of Scotland Ladies’ Lunch takes place at 12.30pm on Sunday, 22 May 2016 at The Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow.

Tickets are available at

For tickets or further information, you can also call the Hospice Fundraising Department on 0141 435 7018.

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TV fashion expert Mark Heyes on hosting the Hospice Ladies’ Lunch

 Mark Heyes

TV style guru Mark Heyes likes to come home to Glasgow as much as possible – but there’s a special reason for his visit next month.

Mark, the fashion expert on morning entertainment show Lorraine, will host the St Margaret of Scotland Hospice Ladies’ Lunch on Sunday, 22 May 2016 at the City’s Radisson Blu Hotel.

And while it’s a formal engagement, the highlight of the event for him is the best thing about any trip home – a chance to catch up with friends.

He said: “The Ladies’ Lunch always has a great atmosphere. I’m looking forward to it and it’s a real privilege to be involved.

“Presenting to a live audience is very different to working on TV. But with the Hospice event it feels like I’m working in a room full of my mates. They’re a really good laugh and good fun.”

The fact that all the models in the event’s catwalk show work at the Clydebank-based Hospice only adds to that informal feel.

And Mark, who is used to working with the top names in the fashion industry, is looking forward to helping the catwalk newcomers strut their stuff.

He added: “It’s great that the models are from the Hospice and I always have a joke with them. It’s a vintage theme this year so we’ll see what that has in store.”

Local harmony group the Ragtime Dolls will provide the day’s musical entertainment, alongside regular Hospice event performers The Singer Swingers.

Guests will also enjoy a champagne reception starting at 12.30pm – during which they can browse and shop for clothing, confectionery and cosmetics at an array of pop-up stalls – and a delicious three-course meal.

It all adds up to a day not to be missed – although Mark admits there’s another factor in his decision to travel up the road from London.

He said: “I come up to Scotland as much as possible. Not as often as I’d like but sometimes several times a month. If I didn’t, I’d get in far too much trouble from my mum.”

Tickets for the St Margaret of Scotland Ladies’ Lunch are available at £50 or £450 for an early-bird rate table of 10 from

For tickets or further information, you can also contact the Hospice fundraising department on 0141 435 7018.

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Hospice hosts tea party for Turners staff after fantastic fundraising and volunteering efforts

Turners Tea

St Margaret of Scotland Hospice welcomed some special guests around for tea this week.

Staff from Turners Facilities popped in for a cup of tea on Thursday, December 17, in an event we called Turners Tea@Three – which allowed the Hospice to say thank you for the company’s help over the past few weeks.

The workers generously donated nearly 140 hours of their time to assist with many tasks in and around the Hospice – including landscaping the gardens and putting up Christmas decorations, which the company donated to the Hospice.

Adding to their festive contribution, the visitors helped decorate the Hospice Christmas Bus and joined Hospice fundraising staff on the bus last week – raising an incredible £2000 – as it continued its rounds before Christmas Day.

The partnership developed when Turners, whose Housing and Energy team have been installing external wall insulation to West Dunbartonshire Council and local housing association properties in recent months, made some enquiries about helping a charity in the area.

And after choosing to support the Hospice, the Govan-based firm got in touch and made arrangements to come in.

As a spokeswoman for Turners explained, the company pride themselves in being “a positive presence in the communities we work in”.

She said: “We like to get involved in community benefit projects at hospices, nursing homes and schools. It can make a big difference to people, especially at this time of year.

“We set up an initial meeting at St Margaret of Scotland Hospice after approaching them and when we visited, we were very impressed by the importance and standard of the work carried they carry out.

“When we came out to help, everyone had a really good day. We felt we were very well received and we enjoyed coming back for Turners Tea@Three.”

Hospice Chief Executive Sister Rita added: “We wish to extend a very sincere thank you to Turners Facilities for their generosity in approaching us to carry out this work in preparation for Christmas.

“Their staff have really made a difference around the Hospice for the benefit of patients and their families and friends – and the grounds and Christmas decorations look lovely.

“They have done a great job and we were delighted to welcome them back for tea on Thursday.”

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Support St Margaret of Scotland Hospice and put yourself in with a chance of winning up to £2000 in our Christmas Draw

Big prizes are on offer for this year’s St Margaret of Scotland Hospice Christmas Draw, as we move towards the end of what has been a memorable 65th anniversary year.

Our monthly Hospice Lottery will run in December as normal, but alongside it we are promoting the cash prize Christmas Draw to mark our very special year.

And the good news for the winners is that they’ll receive their timely gift on December 22, meaning it will arrive just in time for Christmas!

A fantastic top prize of £2000 is on offer for the first winning tickets, with generous second and third-place prizes of £1000 and £500 also up for grabs.

Tickets are £1 each (or £10 for a book of 10 ten are available from the Hospice.  To request tickets please contact the Hospice by phoning 0141 435 7018 or emailing

We will also be out and about in the local community promoting tickets in the run-up to the Draw.  Please do not hesitate to contact the Hospice if you wish tickets to share with work colleagues and friends.  We would welcome the opportunity for businesses in Clydebank, Bearsden, Milngavie, Dumbarton, Glasgow and elsewhere in the west of Scotland to support the Hospice by allowing volunteers to visit to promote the Christmas Draw to colleagues and staff.

The proceeds of the Christmas Draw will go towards the Hospice funds and help us to continue providing the highest standards of care to the patients and their families.

Hospice Chief Executive Sister Rita said: “By taking part in our Christmas Draw you will be contributing to a very worthy cause at the end of what has been a very special year for the Hospice.  We hope that the Christmas Draw will be a great success and wish all of those who take part good luck in being one of the winners of these wonderful prizes!  Many thanks to all who will support the Hospice in this way.”

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Festive fun for a great cause on St Margaret of Scotland Hospice Christmas Bus

Christmas Bus 2

St Margaret of Scotland Hospice continues its build-up to the festive season next week with the launch of the annual Christmas Bus.

The bus, which has become a popular fixture in the local festive calendar, will embark on its first journey on Friday November 27, continuing daily until Christmas Eve.

Featuring Christmas decorations and a sound system playing Christmas carols and other music – and a team of Hospice volunteers helpers dressed in period costumes – the bus is another important part of our fundraising effort.

Leaving on week day nights at 5pm from the Hospice car park in East Barns Street, Clydebank, it will visit various public places in and around Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, Knightswood, Bearsden & Milngavie and East Dunbartonshire.

On weekends, the Christmas Bus will leave the Hospice at 9am and be stationed at a variety of locations including Glasgow City Centre, Dumbarton and Clydebank Shopping Centre, returning to the Hospice at 5pm.

Our fundraising teams will hold bucket collections from the bus and members of the public are invited to come on board the Christmas Bus as volunteers to support the fundraising campaign or alternatively to look out for the bus at each stop and join in the fun. The bus has proved particularly popular with families in previous years although people of all ages are traditionally happy to see it stopping off as they get in the Christmas mood.

Hospice Chief Executive Sister Rita said: “The Christmas Bus is one of the most enjoyable fundraising activities for our team because of the feeling of festive cheer as they meet the public at the various stops.

“However, it is also a vitally important activity in the Hospice calendar because the generosity of the public has traditionally ensured that we are able to raise important funds to continue to provide the highest standards of care here.

“We are grateful for the support of the public and the hard work of our volunteers and look forward to seeing so many friendly faces over the coming weeks.”

If you would like to help volunteer on the bus or take part in other Hospice fundraising activities, please email or phone 0141 435 7018.

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