In the late 1950s, when I was a small child growing up in the village of Ardrishaig on the West Coast, I remember being out with my mother one day when we met another mother who had recently had a baby. After they had chatted for a while, my mother gave me two half-crowns (five shillings, and a serious amount of cash to my four-year-old self) and told me to drop them into the baby’s pram. I did so, wondering what it was all about, and asked her later why she had done this.

“It’s a way of saying to the baby, ‘welcome to the world, and here’s a wee something to help you along in it’”.

When, years later and now a grandfather myself, I heard of the Scottish Government Baby Box scheme I remembered this incident, thinking how happy my mother would have been to see her instinct of generosity to the newborn now being taken forward on a national scale.


Colin MacKenzie
A long way away from childhood
Inside Scotland

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Colin’s two half-crowns