Heroic Scots parents who turned tragedies into a force for good

editorial image
Share this article
Have your say

Alison Campsie looks at the inspirational parents who have channelled their grief to bring about a change for good, whether it be to help others or bring new laws to protect us all.

Bea Jones

Linda Norgrove with her parents John and Lorna

Linda Norgrove with her parents John and Lorna

Bea Jones, the mother of murdered businesswoman Moira Jones, has helped around 600 families deal with their loss following the horrendous death of her daughter in 2008

She and her husband Hu set up the Moira Fund in honour of their daughter’s kindhearted ways but also to give practical and financial support to those who had lost someone to homicide or murder.

Ms Jones said she had became aware that not all families would have the money needed to get through such a traumatic time, whether it be paying for travel, a few days away or counselling.

She said: “Doing the fund has helped me a great deal. It gives me something to focus on and I don’t know what I would be doing otherwise. There is always something I can be doing for the fund.

I had to lose my daughter to get to this stage but we might just manage to save the life of another person.

Michael Brown

“I often get very moved when I get a nice thank you letter.

“Just this week we managed to arrange a three-day break for a poor girl whose brother was murdered. She has been looking after her mum and dad, she has given up her bed for visitors, she feels like she has not been paying enough attention to her little boy, money is very tight. There are lots of stories like that.”

She has also campaigned with the Home Office to improve sharing of information on criminals moving through EU members states and continues to call for greater progress on this issue. Marek Harcar, the man who murdered her daughter, was from Slovakia and had a long record of offending.

Fundraising is a major part of Mrs Jones’ work with the next Moira Fund event to be a ladies lunch at Glasgow’s Oran Mor on March 13.

READ MORE: Six Scots women and their stunning acts of benevolence

Julie Love

Julie Love helped force a change in the law in Scotland following the death of her son Colin in South America in 2009.

She was stuck in a nightmare of foreign bureaucracy as well as trying to deal with her own grief after Colin drowned while travelling.

Michael Brown with a picture of his late daughter Clare

Michael Brown with a picture of his late daughter Clare

After waiting four weeks for her son to be repatriated, Ms Love, of Glasgow, went on to fight for better support from the Foreign Office for bereaved families when dealing with the death of a loved one abroad.

She learned last December that a new law will allow FAIs to be held in some cases for Scots nationals who have died overseas.

She said: “Colin hated an injustice. That what I just keep thinking. That’s why I had to keep pursuing it. He just didn’t deserve what happened to him.”

Ms Love set up the support group Death Abroad You Are Not Alone (DAYNA) in light of her loss and is doing further work with the Scottish Government on a set of practical guidelines for bereaved families.

That could be as simple as knowing how to get documents translated into English or which airports had quiet places for families to sit before they made the journey abroad.

John and Lorna Norgrove

The parents of kidnapped aid worker Linda Norgrove, who died after special forces tried to rescue her from her captors in Afghanistan, have raised more than £1m to carry on the good work of their daughter in the country that she loved.

The Linda Norgrove Foundation is a grant-giving trust that funds education, health and childcare for women and children affected by the war in Afghanistan.

Mrs and Mrs Norgrove run the trust from their home in Lewis with one of three trustees based in Afghanistan,

In December last year, the trust reported it had reached the £1m fundraising mark and said they wanted their daughter to be remembered for her “contribution to life rather than her tragic death.”

Mr Norgrove said: “We don’t have the resources to change the world, but we do help in our own small way to fund projects which have a direct impact on individuals.”

More than 76 different grass roots projects have been supported by the trusts, including These included scholarships for 44 girls to attend university, where five will train to be a doctor.

Andy and Sharon Morton

The couple, from Glasgow, campaigned tirelessly for tighter controls on airguns in Scotland after their two-year-old boy Andrew was shot dead by a drug user in 2005.

Mark Bonini was later convicted of murdering the toddler.

They collected tens of thousands of signatures for petitions and took their campaign all over Scotland following their tragic loss.

In 2012, then Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill agreed to introduce a new scheme that would require anyone wanting to own an airgun to prove they had a legitimate reason for having one.

Mr Morton said at the time: “It’s taken seven years of hard work, determination and several disappointments, but it was worth every minute now we have what we wanted.

“It is such a fitting tribute to the wee man to have a law made in his memory.

“Sharon was just about in tears when we were told – and I wasn’t that far behind her.”

Michael Brown

The Aberdeen-born father of a woman murdered by her abusive boyfriend campaigned for change following the loss of his daughter.

Thanks to the determination of Michael Brown, every man and woman in Scotland can request a criminal check on the background of their partner if they suspect them of a violent past.

The so-called Clare’s Law is in memory of his daughter, Clare Wood, who was set on fire at her home in Salford, Manchester, in 2009 by her boyfriend George Appleton.

Ms Wood had met him on Facebook and was unaware that he had earlier been convicted of violence against women.

Clare’s Law - or the Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse in Scotland - was introduced last September following successful pilots in Aberdeen and Ayrshire.

Mr Brown said at the time he was “quietly delighted” that the scheme was introduced in his own country

He added: “I had to lose my daughter to get to this stage but we might just manage to save the life of another person.”