LAST week ah wis invited alang tae a gala denner held tae gie a hieze tae the life an warks o ane o Scotland’s greatest leevin heroes, Sir Jackie Stewart. 
The great an the guid wir aa in attendance, including oor First Meenister. Ah wis asked tae write a poem celebrating Jackie’s life an achievements.

Jackie is a kenspeckle feegure in the warld o Formula One motor racing, an his fame is warldwide. But the main ettle o this denner wis tae gie a heize tae Jackie’s latest charitable venture, the Race Against Dementia. Jackie’s beloved wife Helen hus bin diagnosed wi this hellish disease – alang wi their son Mark she wis at Jackie’s side at the denner, tho nou in a wheelchair.

Jackie gien an impassioned speech whaur he explained hou he wis uisin the technical expertise an knowledge gleaned frae decades o motorsport big business an science, an applying it tae fin a cure fir dementia.
Gin ye share Jackie Stewart’s veesion please donate gin ye can at

Ower Erskine Brig, the traffic pours,
Fir Stirling or Loch Lomond’s shore,
Milton? A place maist fowk ignore,
Till in tailbacks,
They micht spy oan a bungalow,
A wee blue plaque…

“Rockview”, wears its badge wi pride,
A Scottish name that’s kent worldwide,
Three world titles certified,
In Formula One,
Whaur Jackie Stewart did aince reside;
Saicent tae none!

“The Flying Scot”, it needs nae stressing,
Reached the heights o his profession
When F1 wisnae some procession,
O corporate names,
Wi jist wan lapse o concentration…
A deadly game!

But let’s scroll back, fir guid or ill,
Tae childhood years at Dumbuck schuil,
Years Jackie tholed, aye nae idyll,
Dyslexia then,
Wis something teachers took gey ill;
Ye’re thick – ye ken!

But teachers there they didnae ettle,
Oan young Jackie Stewart’s mettle,
He’d Scots smeddum, it can fettle,
Every problem!
He ne’er wis sweir tae ‘grasp the nettle’,
An ayeweys solved thaim!

Not all knowledge is got in schools,
An mony ‘brainy’ folk are fools!
Sometimes ye hae tae bend the rules,
Think oot the box!
That wey ye’ll learn tae mak the tools,
Tae thole life’s knocks!

While faither dealt wi Jaguar sales,
Jackie goat oil ablow his nails,
Mechanical knowledge he’d inhale.
Wi petrol fumes,
Tak engines apart- then mak thaim hale…
Wi passion consumed!

Leisure time foun him pursuing,
An ardour fir clay pigeon shootin,
As wi aathing, he wid put in,
Will-power; self-taught,
An jist missed bein Olympian –
A warld class shot!

A regular yet oan the shooting scene,
He still competes wi field-sports cream,
Norfolk or Sandringham he’ll be seen,
His skill displaying,
Did he bag mair birds than the Queen?
Jackie’s no sayin!

Anither joy o thae early days,
Wis Helensburgh, an Dino’s Café,
Whaur perfect summer Saturdays,
Teens wid frequent,
It’s Juke-box whaur a bob or twae,
Wid aye be spent.

Dino’s, whaur the haund o fate,
Wis dealt, and oan a famed blind date,
You met Helen, your true soul-mate,
A bond fir life,
Few couples find a love sae great;
A perfect wife!

In wan particular wee red car,
His amorous driving went too far,
Spun aff oan a drive tae Helensburgh,
The caur wis totalled,
This ill-fated colour Jackie barred –
Nae mair red motors!


His ither love tho, motor racing,
Irrepressibly he wis chasing,
Titles, an wid be out-pacing,
The ither cars,
Syne F1’s BRM came chasing,
This rising star…!

Through the 60’s ye learn yer trade,
Learn fae evri mistake that’s made,
Rising through each rank and grade,
Tae tak the laurels,
Tho F1 in thae early days,
Ne’er sought its sorrows.

Racing risks wir grim and stark;
A day when skies grew ne’er sae dark,
Ye loast yer dear guid frien Jim Clark,
An vowed fae that day,
Ye’d mak your legacy an trademark,
The field of safety!

Fearlessly ye stuid yer grund,
Spoke oot fir safety till ye’d won,
Reforms that ne’er wid hae bin done,
If no fir you,
Nou drivers salute ye, every one,
This Scotsman true!

There followed years o endless wins,
Silverstone, Zandvoort, the Nürburgring,
Matchless talent unwavering,
Tae seize each prize,
The ‘Flying Scot’, crowned F1’s king,

Wi faithful Helen aye by yer side,
Boys, Mark and Paul, their parent’s pride,
Monaco’s glamour, taen in yer stride,
Worldwide success,
The Grand Prix years, a helluva ride!
Wi few regrets.


The decision’s made in ’73,
Faimily first wis your decree,
Retiring at the top fae Grand Prix,
Step back a bit,
Nou workin fir Ford and ABC,
A racing pundit!

Ye’re drawn agane tae the auld dream,
The Stewart Grand Prix racing team,
Formed wi son Paul, nae madcap scheme,
Ye hae successes,
Then sell tae Jaguar, nou Red Bull,
It still impresses!

Honoured wi the glittering prizes,
Society gies in aa its guises,
No the smairtest – buy aye the wisest!
The tree o life ye’ve plucked,
Knighthood, medals… And surprises –
The Freedom o Dumbuck!

Ye’d think nou eftir aa thae years,
Ye’d mibbes crash doun throu the gears,
Signal left, an mibbes steer,
Intae the slow lane,
But heartless fate, its head syne rears,
Tae cause us pain…

Dementia is pruivin Helen’s bane,
This ticking time-bomb in oor brains,
50 million warld-wide it claims,
Ah’ll mak it plain;
The thing that makes us us it drains,
An haunts oor hames…

But Jackie, smeddum in his veins,
Lik some auld knight frae age bygane,
Hus raised his lance tae tilt again,
At this new foe,
An he’ll no rest until it’s slain,
An been lain low!


His charity, Race Against Dementia,
Intae the fray hus nou bin entered,
F1 technology at its centre,
Big guns o science,
Aa trained oan this cruel disorder,
Fire in defiance!

The best researchers in the world,
Jackie’s employed, their talent hurled,
Decades o technical science whirls,
In their PC’s
Within ten years we’ll bring this illness,
Tae its knees!

But Holy Grails, they arenae cheap!
One-Fifty-£K a year tae keep,
Jist wan researcher in their seat,
Right now, we’ve four…
We need mair cash, and we entreat,
Please, gie’s ten more!

Aye, that’s a loat o money, sure,
But somewhaur folks, oot there’s a cure,
Some in this room, we can ensure,
Will leeve tae see it!
We hae the hook, the line, the lure…
Jackie believes it!

He’s energy that nane can tame,
An pits folk hauf his age tae shame,
His ninth decade, back in the game,
No fir second place!
A better man ah cuidnae name,
Be sure, he’ll win this race!

This Race Against Dementia’s key,
Tae lowsin the lock o this disease,
Nae greater victory we’d agree,
He’ll e’er hae won,
This is the prize that Jackie will seize,
It can be done!