A pantomime dame has presented a bumper cheque to NHS Lanarkshire – oh yes he has!
Tom Kirkland found his health was no laughing matter when he began suffering chest pain and had to pull out of his role in the local panto, staged in March, to have a triple heart bypass.
Tom, from Douglas, has now fought back to fitness and has raised an impressive £3300 to be split between the local Lady Home Hospital and Wishaw General Hospital.
“I am feeling fantastic,” he said.
Tom, who turned 58 on Friday, explained: “I had pain in my chest in February which I though was indigestion.
“I mentioned it to the local GP, who was also in the Douglasdale Players’ panto, and he asked me to come in for a check.
“He had me at Wishaw General within 24 hours.”
Tom was looked after at ward 4 in Wishaw for five weeks before being transferred to the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank for his bypass in April.
He said: “The staff at Wishaw General were great and always went beyond the call of duty.”
Tom found the same level of dedication in follow-up care for a month at Lady Home Hospital in Douglas.
Back on his feet, Tom and his partner, Robert Barclay, decided to raise funds to thank the NHS staff.
“I just wanted to put something back,” said Tom, who is secretary of Douglas Victoria Bowling Club.
“We arranged a buffet and cabaret for around 100 guests and were delighted to raise much more than we expected.”
Tom added: “As soon as I was fit I wanted to do something for the hospitals.
“Without the staff I wouldn’t have been able to run an event like that or do many other things.”
Bowled over to receive their cheques at a presentation at the club were Gary Boyle, ward 4 charge nurse from Wishaw General, and Lady Home’s clinical nurse manager Rosie Lang and charge nurse Margaret Ann McGowan.
Rosie said: “It’s great to have this fantastic sum of money raised for the hospital in Douglas.
“It makes us feel greatly appreciated and gives us support from our community.
“The money will be put to good use for our patients.”
Tom would also like to reassure other people facing such heart surgery, as he found the thought of it very frightening.
“It is just the fear aspect of the whole thing,” he said. “But I have never looked back at all.
“You get your life back!”
The cheque presentation was a family affair . Photo shows Tom’s brother Archie Kirkland (left) with Lady Home charge nurse Margaret Ann McGowan, and clinical nurse manager Rosie Lang with Tom Kirkland; then Robert Barclay presenting the cheque to Wishaw charge nurse Gary Boyle, watched by Robert’s parents Jimmy and Maisie Barclay.