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VESS Newsletter Profile

Andrew McLeman

Why does a quiet, unassuming construction cost consultant get involved with a controversial pressure group like VESS? For Andrew McLeman, it was the interest of his father, now 87 and virtually housebound, that awakened his own feelings on the matter. "He has all his faculties at present and is greatly assured by the fact he can plan his own exit if his quality of life deteriorates significantly in the future."

Andrew has, unfortunately, also recently experienced the other side of suicide - from the death of a relative who was undergoing an emotional trauma. This is something we strive to protect against in VESS, but to get real safeguards legislation is necessary. Andrew is optimistic about legal change but admits he is "still learning about v.e." A newcomer to the VESS Committee he is still feeling his way, urged on by his father's involvement.

Many people join VESS after watching the declining health of a family member or a drawn-out death (his mother in law died two years ago - "Her quality of life was very poor towards the end.") But digging beneath the surface we find more than family experiences behind Andrew's concern to be part of the v.e. battle. He has always been interested in ways of quietly improving things. As an Elder of the Kirk in the Church of Scotland he's already involved with the local people. "Without being over-religious, I like to see the church doing some good in the community." He is perhaps representative of many Christians who are more concerned with basic human goodness than being obsessed with church dogma.

Andrew has spent a lot of time working in different parts of Scotland - he's happy to be more settled now (in Mid Calder) and have time to devote to his family and causes such as VESS. Andrew's already offered his service on the new "enabling courses" VESS plans to run for members, both on and off the committee, to better prepare them for speaking about v.e. in public. "When I was President of Strathkelvin Junior Chamber of Commerce, I gained some public speaking experience which I would be pleased to pass on."

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