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I'D WALK OVER RED HOT COAL FOR KIDS; Mum ready to defy pain and fear to raise funds.


LESLEY Rodgers cares so much about Scottish kids that she's pledged to walk on hot coals to help them.

The mum of two is limbering up to lead a fund-raising team of Daily Record readers across a path of fire.

Lesley, 38, of West Kilbride, Ayrshire, is confident the event will raise thousands of pounds towards building crisis centres across the country for teens who need help.

She said: "It's a cracking way of making money and boosting your own confidence levels too.

"I promise that the second you try it, you'll be hooked. It can be a very empowering experience."

Lesley, who is Scotland's only female fire walking instructor, was inspired to help our campaign after seeing the rows of photographs in our paper of young Scots who had taken their own lives

She was touched by the stories of youngsters like Emma Morrison, 12, who could no longer take bullies' taunts and hanged herself in her Edinburgh home.

Lesley said: "Our kids are our future and it's everyone's responsibility to make sure there is somewhere youngsters can go to get help."

Carol Agnew also believes that reaching out to teenagers who feel suicidal is essential. Her 15- year-old niece, Nicola Raphael, killed herself last year after being bullied at Lenzie Academy for being a "goth."

Since then, Carol and friends have collected more than pounds 500 for Facilitate, the suicide prevention centre in Glasgow which, with the help of our campaign, is now set to go nationwide.

Carol is planning a fun night at St Brigid's social club in Kilbirnie, Ayrshire, on October 24.

Celtic great Lou Macari has put up a Celtic football shirt to be raffled and Rangers have promised a signed football.

Carol's neighbour, Senga Bain, who is passionate about Rangers, has even agreed to be sponsored to wear a Celtic football shirt all night.

Carol said: "It's worth doing everything we can to help Facilitate. It's too late for Nicola now but I do know how fantastic Facilitate are.

"They've been there for Nicola's family since her death."

For staff at the Bank of Scotland our campaign has made a huge impact too.

Janet Hosie, who works at the Gyle branch in Edinburgh, has persuaded colleagues to commit to four weeks of fundraising, such as a dress- down day where staff pay to wear casual clothes.

Janet is a family friend of Edinburgh schoolboy Dean McCaskill, 15, who hanged himself in February.

"If our money saves this sort of tragedy from happening again then it will be worthwhile," said Janet.

Dean's aunt, trainee nurse Helen Anderson who lives in Edinburgh, is keen to organise a charity auction.

"When he died it was devastating," said Helen.

"Opening the Record on Tuesday and seeing the rows of teens who have taken their lives was awful. They looked happy. It seemed such a waste."

In Fort William, the grandparents of little Caitlyn, five, and Dean, two, who lost both parents to suicide are organising a knees-up Highland style.

Bobby and Jean Innes are planning a ceilidh in their community hall on November 30 to raise cash for our Save Our Kids campaign. Ceildh band The Chamora will be leading the dancing.

Jean said: "I want to do as much as I can to help the campaign.

"I don't want other people to go through the pain this family has."

All cash raised will go to Facilitate Scotland, a charity which aims to set up specialist help centres for teens in Glasgow, Inverness, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Dumfries.

Each centre will cost an estimated pounds 1.5million to fund for three years. Youngsters will be able to go there for one-to-one counselling and call a confidential hot line where they can discuss worries which range from pregnancy to bullying, family break ups to suicide.


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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 20, 2002
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