Celebrity support for Carluke man's charity single
Carluke lad Stuart Arnott loved music – from the tender age of six he started learning how to play the accordion.
This love was fed by his dad Stanley (82) and his late cousin Jim Barr, a professional keyboard player.
Educated at Carluke Primary and High Schools, Stuart went on to study computing science at Paisley College while also performing with wedding bands.
His career took him down a different path, joining Strathclyde Police in 1987 as an IT technician. He was head of IT at Dumfries and Galloway Police when he took voluntary redundancy in 2014.
Living in Troon with his partner Wendy, Stuart was working as an IT consultant with the Scottish Prison Service in March 2016 when colleagues urged him to see a doctor. He was diagnosed with myelofibrosis, a rare type of bone marrow cancer.
He said: “The symptoms were breathlessness, fatigue and muscle pain; I just thought I was unfit and getting a bit decrepit. My prognosis at that point was 15 years – it was a shock, but I thought: that’s okay, I’ll take that.”
However, by May 2018 he needed an urgent bone marrow transplant; luckily, a donor was found in America and Stuart underwent the operation in September that year.
Unfortunately, in January 2019, his body rejected the transplant and his children Gillian (29) and Alasdair (24) were his only hope. As the closest match, Gillian donated her marrow.
Stuart (56) explained: “My family were sent for four times and when I went into a coma, they said it was unlikely I’d come out of it.
"Seven days later, I woke up. I was in a poor way but I was back. It was surreal – like the cat with nine lives.”
It was a long road to recovery at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, with five months in isolation.
That gave Stuart time to reflect on what the people in his life really meant to him.
"I hadn’t discussed how I was feeling but being locked in a room for five months and not being sure of how long you’ve got left is a kick up the backside,” he said.
"I started thinking about how I’d be remembered and the people in my life.”
A thank you note turned into a song and Stuart eventually shared it with his former band colleagues – who encouraged him to release it.
He said: “I wanted to raise funds for Anthony Nolan so I thought it might be worth releasing the single.”
Luckily, Stuart’s dad is cousins with Jim Scott, whose sons Jonathan and Drew are TV’s home renovating experts, The Property Brothers.
Drew’s version of A Stranger was released a few weeks ago. With 3.2 million Facebook followers, it has raised £4000 for Anthony Nolan.
Drew said: “It was important for Stuart to help show anyone going through a similar journey to his that they are not alone. I was honoured to be a part of the process; he truly wrote a beautiful song.”
Stuart is delighted that Drew – who visited Carluke with his parents Jim and Joanne, brothers Jonathan and JD and his wife, Linda, in 2017 – took the time to help.
He added: “Drew admits he’s no Michael Bublé but he’s done a great job and he’s got far more friends than me!”