Bro Jim Scott with Ronan

The 2017 Special Olympics GB National Games are being held this August in Sheffield, and several special Scots will be there thanks to financial help given by the Orange family.

The Sheffield Games will be the biggest sporting event for athletes with learning disabilities and is expected to attract more than 2,500 competitors. Among them will be David and Alistair Stuart whose father, Bro Major Bob Stuart MBE, was presented with a £2,000 donation at the Grand Master’s Dinner in March for the Dumfries & Galloway Special Olympics Team. In a hand written letter, David and Alistair thanked the Grand Master for the gift, adding “It’s an honour to be selected and we both look forward to competing for Great Britain in the summer and will do our best.” Major Stuart added his personal thanks for “a fantastic gesture and wonderful donation that will be well used to support the overall team”.

Someone else who’s eagerly looking forward to the games is Ronan Cusack, a talented young swimmer and avid Celtic fan from Wishaw, who has been virtually adopted by the members of the County Flute Band. Ronan’s mother, Katie, has sent effusive thanks to Grand Lodge, saying “We are of the Catholic faith and it’s a great shame that others don’t know the extent of the charity work you do, regardless of religion”. She goes on to praise the generous support received, not just from the band, but from all the lodges in Wishaw District. She singles out Bro Jim Scott (LOL 21) and Sis Fiona Paterson (LLOL 247) as “fantastic people who have built up a great relationship with my son. This is rare but beautiful to see”.

The Wishaw effort soon grew to include Ronan’s girlfriend Samantha, then the entire disabled swimming club, and now another family facing difficulties with a daughter. It’s heart-warming to see the Order’s Christian principles applied for the benefit of others, and we’ll hopefully hear how our special Olympians fare at Sheffield.