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FAINT HEART NEVER WON FAIR LADY; Best man puts pounds 5 bet on groom keeling over on his wedding day.

CHEEKY best man Calum McLean is banking on nervous groom John Gilmour passing out before he says: "I do."

As a painfully shy child, John would faint every time he was nervous or got into trouble.

Now his best man stands to make pounds 500 if John faints at his wedding to Julie-Anne Armit.

Calum has staked a fiver on John hitting the deck with his kilt flapping around his ears.

He contacted William Hill who agreed to take the bet at odds of 100-1.

John, 36, is terrified he could ruin his fiancee's big day by flaking out when they exchange vows. Calum is ready to cash in.

John will marry Julie-Anne, 30, in Mid Calder, West Lothian, on Friday.

John, a butcher from Broxburn, said: "I'm hoping Calum won't be in the money come Friday night.

"I actually haven't fainted for quite a few years and touch wood, I'll still be standing at the end of the ceremony.

"When I was young I used to faint all the time when I got nervous - especially in front of my dad when he was punishing me for something."

John's fainting fits even baffled doctors when his concerned parents took him for a check-up.

He said: "Maybe it was some kind of defence mechanism. I still don't know why it happened and the doctors didn't know either. They gave me all sorts of checks, tested my blood pressure, took blood samples but they couldn't find anything."

And even when he left school and started his butcher's apprenticeship, the fainting fits continued to plague him.

He added: "Everyone in the shop had to be taken through a procedure in the event of me passing out, which I frequently did because I was very young and quite shy and quite often got nervous.

"But I think the last time it happened to me was in the mid 80s.

"Julie-Anne knows all about it but she is hoping I keep it together on the big day."

Calum, 35, from Livingston, has been friends with John for four years and says the bet is just a bit of fun.

He said: "We were talking about when we were younger quite recently and it all came out then.

"He started telling me about when he was a boy and would just pass out.

"If his past record in anything to go by, the wedding could be the acid test."

A spokeswoman for William Hill said: "It's a bet we haven't seen before and we look forward to getting confirmation from the minister after the service that it all went smoothly."

IT'S A MENTAL DEFENCE

FAINTING groom John Gilmour will probably pass out with fear, said a top psychologist.

He is so used to associating a fainting fit with stress that it has become almost a habit, explained leading expert Rev Dr Geoff Scobie.

The Glasgow University lecturer said: "John has made a mental link between times of stress and fainting.

"His mind is conditioning his system to change his heart rate or cut off blood to the brain."

He joked: "I can't really give any psychological reason why his best man should place a bet on him."
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Author:Daly, Mark
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 25, 2000
Words:531
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