Mother’s Day: Stars on what their mums have done for them

TOMORROW is Mother’s Day, when those of us lucky enough to still have Mum around should be spoiling her rotten. Stars from the world of sport, the media and politics tell us what their mothers have done for them – and you may 
be surprised at what they have to say.


“You only get one mum so a son’s bond with their mother is very special. Mine, Wilma, was always there for me when I was growing up, and being a nurse she is always the first person I phone if there is a problem in my family. She’s a great cook – I still look forward to going home for some fish pie whenever I can – and loves baking as well. She still comes and irons my trousers so that the seams are razor sharp. She will be retiring this year so we will get more of a chance to spend some time together. My garden will also be blooming with flowers, as she loves gardening. On Mother’s Day she will be going to see her mum, Martha Knox, then my dad’s mum, Milly Gallacher, who is also fit and well. After that I’m sure she’ll be getting taken for dinner by my sister, Jennifer, and her family. I would love to be there myself but she knows my job means I miss a lot of things at home. It would be nice, though, if I could do well in this week’s WGC-Cadillac Championship in Miami as that would be a nice present for her. My wife, Helen, has come out to support me so her mum, Betty Kennedy, is giving up her Mother’s Day to look after our two children, Jack and Ellie, which is nice of her. Where would we be without our mums?”

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“I was a mystery to Mum. Mum is dyslexic and from a young age my whole world revolved around words. I was a kid who couldn’t sleep for three nights straight after she read Wuthering Heights and whose teenage years were blighted by the fact no Scottish boy in his right mind was ever going to behave like Sir Percy Blakeney in The Scarlet Pimpernel. It wasn’t until years after I started writing, when Mum heard me speak at the National Library and I talked about imaginative engagement, that she got it. I was on stage and I could see the lights come on in her eyes. “Ah,” she said afterwards, “that’s what all the fuss was about.”

It was Mum who got me a library card and bought me book tokens and that’s Big Love – to indulge your weird kid in what they adore. So thank you, Mum, for letting me get my story kicks when I know you wanted me to play bridge (Mum is a wicked bridge player).”


“My mother, Suzanne, had four children under five by the time she was about 25 and I don’t know how she did it. I’ve got two and I’m completely in awe of her. She’s wonderful with her grandchildren. She’ll drop everything to come and look after my kids if they’re not well, and she’s great fun as well. I learned from her to laugh a lot with your children and to give them lots of cuddles.

Growing up, she was very loving and she was a nurse, so she was always great if you were unwell. There’s a running joke in our family that she’s a bad cook and that when you smelled burning that meant tea was ready. She’s a great role model for me because when you have children yourself, if you’re lucky enough to have a good mother you bring them up the same way, don’t you?

She’s always very busy. Most women start winding down at her age but she flew off to North Korea recently with a Christian group who had raised money for an orphanage.

Mum took to hillwalking when we were a bit older. She’s amazing; she’s done all the munros and on her last one we all went up with her, the whole family and everyone who had ever climbed with her. We had a party at the top. She loves the hills, she loves Scotland. She’s from Northumberland but I think she’s more Scottish than most Scots.”


“My mum, Margaret, has been massively important in my life and there’s probably nothing I could say that would do justice to what she has done for me. I grew up in Hawick with a dad who played for Hawick and went into refereeing and coaching, and an older brother who was mad about rugby, so it was rugby 24/7 in our house. My mum actually played too and she likes to wind the rest of us up that she’s the only one to have a winner’s medal from Melrose Sevens, at a women’s tournament. She played stand-off while my dad and brother were full-backs really, so although I’m now full-back, when I played stand-off for Hawick I said I got all my skills from my mum!

“Growing up, Mum would encourage me to try different things. She would take me to the driving range to work on my golf, and encourage me to play football, cricket, anything really, just to give it a go. I’ve still to get a Mother’s Day present, but after recovery sessions and the squad review of the game on Sunday I’ll be back to Hawick to take her out for a family lunch. But the best present I could give her would be a Scotland win against Wales at Murrayfield. She’ll be there with my Dad and there will be 
no-one wanting us to win more than her. She’s a fantastic mum.”


“Mother’s Day has taken on a greater significance for me in the years since my mum, Effie, passed away. Although we were always close and I loved her dearly, my mum was never one to create a fuss, and naturally downplayed these things, so Mother’s Day was usually marked with nothing more than dropping by and handing over a card. As she got older, though, I tried to make it in to more of an occasion to thank her for all she had done.

Both my parents were born and brought up in Tiree, but it was Glasgow they came to work, and it was here they brought up the family. She was a great mum to me and my brother, and when she died in 2001, it felt for the first time as if I had to accept I had grown up, even though I had two young children of my own by then.

In the years since, we have taken to celebrating Mother’s Day with a family dinner, where my husband’s mother and sister will come over and spend the day with Fay and Colin, my teenage daughter and son. Even though she won’t be there in person, I will be thinking of my mum and thanking her for all wonderful things she did for me, all the great things she taught me and all of the things I will be able to pass on to my children because of her.”


“I don’t actually know where either of us will be on Sunday. I’m not sure what my mum, Liz, will be doing, and I don’t have a clue what I’ll be doing – I’m just back from four weeks’ warm weather training in Kenya so I’ve got a lot of university work to catch up on. But Mum’s pretty laid-back about things like that. She’s got my three younger brothers and our younger sister, who’s seven, to look after, so I’m sure they’ll give her home-made cards, pasta necklaces, things like that.

I usually just pop round for lunch. I live very nearby and I see my mum often anyway. When I was younger I was maybe quite naïve and didn’t understand how much she had achieved as an athlete. Both my mum and dad sheltered me from that, and it was probably only when I started taking athletics more seriously, when I was 15 or 16, that I realised how good she really was. She always wanted me to make my own decisions and didn’t put any pressure on me.

When I was growing up it was more difficult to draw the line between my relationship with her as my mum and as my coach, but as you get older it gets easier. We don’t have arguments. I’m 22 now, I’m independent and I make my own decisions. But I am extremely fortunate to be able to get advice from someone like her who has done so much in our sport.”

•  Eilish, a third-year maths and accountancy student at Dundee, ran in the 3,000m steeplechase at last year’s Olympic Games. Liz, a World Championship and Commonwealth Games gold medallist, is her coach.


“My mother is the most important person in my life. That sounds like I’m a terrible mumma’s boy but I don’t care, it’s true. I’d always grown up with my mum backing me in everything I did – and surrounded by books and art. I started Cargo in 2009. She fully supported me to start a publishing company for £800 and three years on, we’re a major publishing outfit with three imprints, one of the biggest book festivals in Scotland and a healthy turnover – it seems that maw does know best. She was even out putting up posters in all weathers for our gigs early on!

At 15, I had developed schizophrenia. I’ve battled with it my adult life, but I’ve never fought alone. My mum has always been there for me – supporting me, fighting for me and protecting me at my most vulnerable. I’m a very lucky guy to have such a fantastic mother.”