Gary’s Story

Gary’s Story

“It’s given me the opportunity to do a lot of… work
that that I would never have really considered or
thought of as being things I could do.”

“Prior to Covid… I had, following a period of serious illness… retired early from a job with Scottish Power. So, was just really assessing what I was going to be doing, going forward. I’d no intention to go back into the same sort of line of work, wanted to do something a bit more vocational.”

“I had, just recently started with a new project in East Ren called Macmillan East Ren, which is a cancer information and support service, but on top of that I was in the position where I was looking to be taking on some kind of part-time work but didn’t really know what kind of thing I wanted to do, just something different.”

Gary McQuatar at Clarkston Halls, photograph by Wes Kingston

“I had by chance, at that time, also just been accepted to do some part-time agency work with the Royal Mail… I was combining doing the stuff around home with… dealing with what became a fairly chaotic scenario in Royal Mail because all of a sudden everybody was buying everything online… The timing of it was, eh was quite [pauses] quite strange really in a way… for a lot of people things stopped. For me it kind of all went into overdrive.”

“I applied for and was successful in getting a job with Morrisons… in Giffnock as a Covid Marshall, which involved managing queues outside.”

“So I began working… for the city council [Glasgow] providing support staff in vaccination centres and mobile testing units. Again, that was excellent, that was very much right up my street at the time because I had discovered then… having sat behind a desk for the best bit of 30 years, I actually quite liked jobs where I was actually out… meeting people and chatting to them and generally helping them out.” “In spite of the circumstances… I’ve actually quite enjoyed the… buzz of doing that and actually feeling like you’re doing something that’s a wee bit useful.” “It’s given me the opportunity to do a lot of… work that that I would never have really considered or thought of as being things I could do. My idea when I finished up was that I would do something different but… I thought that it would be, I would work in a pub or something. But obviously the pubs weren’t open so [laughs] the pubs were all shut, so that couldn’t happen!”

“All the opportunities I’ve had to do different work that has led me in a way going forward that I now know, I’m clearer about what to do because of what I’ve actually experienced over the last two and a bit years.”

Testimony of Gary McQuatar,
Macmillan volunteer & worker in
Covid support roles
Photography by Wes Kingston
Interview by Frances McKissock
Transcription by Amanda Robb

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