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Ross-shire minister is dressed to impress for Covid-19 jab with bold fundraiser that helps SAMH mental health charity


By Louise Glen

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The Rev James Bissett goes ahead with bold fundraiser. Picture: Charlie Phillips
The Rev James Bissett goes ahead with bold fundraiser. Picture: Charlie Phillips

There is a long-standing tradition of church ministers wearing a frock – but they are not normally bright pink with yards, upon yards, of netting.

But when the Rev James Bissett, of Contin linked with Fodderty and Strathpeffer parish, heard people were dressing up for their Covid jag, he decided to raise some money as well as awareness of mental health issues.

But Rev Bissett found out what many woman have known, that control pants can often let you down.

He continued with his challenge in spite of his mum passing away and his wife and fellow minister Rev Susan Cord broke her ankle.

He said: "When folks started going for vaccinations, for many it was the first time they had done something for a long time, so they were getting dressed up, and I wanted to do the same.

"But at 6ft tall and a little bit on the fat side I knew sourcing a dress might be a wee bit difficult. But I eventually came across a dress on ebay that was the dress that fitted the bill. It cost me £34 and I paid a further £10 for netting.

"It was bright pink and there was yards of netting on it.

The Rev James Bissett decided to press ahead with his fundraiser as his late mother had also sponsored him.
The Rev James Bissett decided to press ahead with his fundraiser as his late mother had also sponsored him.

"When it arrived it had been vacuum packed into an A4 envelope, so when I opened it in the kitchen it almost filled the room. I found plimpsoles in Poundland that I dressed up with some pink ribbon, some fishnet stocking and I got some control pants from M&S. I also hand made a bag and a garter.

"Susan said that she would come with me when we were getting our vaccinations in her T–Rex outfit, but she then broke her ankle and was not able to do it."
During this time, Rev Bissett's mum passed away where she lived in Dalgetty Bay.

He continued: "My mum had sponsored me, so I felt it was appropriate to keep going. These have been very dark times, and doing something that gives anyone a smile on their face was what was needed. It certainly put a smile on my face.

"While it has been a tough time, as it has been for many people, I have been supported by friends, family and parishoners as well as the Prime Ordeal radio station that I am involved with. Mental health affects everyone, and there shouldn't be a stigma associated with admitting you might need a hand. I thought that I would make maybe £100 with the fundraising for SAMH a Scottish mental health charity– so I have been overwhelmed by the support for my fundraising."

The total now sits at £1,747.

Arriving at the vaccination centre in North Kessock, local photographer Charlie Philip started "flashing away" capturing the minister in a dress.

Rev Bissett said he found that in spite of his best efforts with those control pants and underskirt that there was a little bit of a problem with keeping everything in place.

He said: "At one point I could feel everything falling south, but I managed to preserve my dignity."

To support Rev Bissett visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sayyestothedress.


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