Legendary uncle inspires Glenn

Poet Glenn Merilees
Poet Glenn Merilees

A Hallglen man’s poem about his Great Great Uncle Albert has been published in a book of Scottish family legends.

Glenn Merrilees’ verse was chosen from over 700 submissions to be part of the book, which was officially launched yesterday (Wednesday).

The Family Legends project, run by Scottish Book Trust, with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and in partnership with BBC Radio Scotland, began in November last year and was aimed at encouraging ordinary Scots to write their extraordinary family tales.

Hundreds of people of all ages took part, and Glenn’s poem was one of 68 chosen to be in the final book.

Amazingly Glenn (46) only took up writing poetry after suffering a breakdown in 2004.

He said: “I’ve had mental health problems for over 20 years.

“I found I couldn’t express how bad I was feeling to my partner Aileen so I started writing it down in the form of poetry.”

Glenn was asked to perform a recital of his poem at the book launch, which took place at the BBC Headquarters in Glasgow.

Back in 2009 though, Glenn would never have believed such things were possible.

He said: “Two years ago, I couldn’t even leave my house.

“I was referred to Falkirk District Association for Mental Health and they recommended that I go along to a media group. The support I’ve received has been phenomenal.

“I never thought I would be giving a reading at the BBC.”

It’s not just Glenn’s ‘Uncle Albert’ poem which has been reaching a wider audience.

Another, ‘Stigma’, has been used in FDAMH’s newsletter and he will give a recital at an NHS conference in October to mark World Mental Health Day.

‘Scottish Family Legends’ will be available to purchase from book shops.