While at Saint John's,
Jim became aware that there was no educational provision for children with learning
disabilities. His concern prompted him to establish the Saltcoats and District
Branch of the Scottish Society for Mentally Handicapped Children in 1961. Under
his chairmanship, the Branch made continued representation to the authorities
and raised a great deal of money. Thousands of Christmas cards were sold from
his home to generate funds. Parents, family, friends and neighbours of the children
worked tirelessly to support the fund raising. These monies provided premises
and resources to help special children. One such building was the Day Care Centre
in Campbell Avenue, Saltcoats which opened in January 1970. When it later became
a school and Government funded, the staff were consulted as to an appropriate
name. Because of Jim's commitment to handicapped children, it was called James
McFarlane School. The school moved to a new building in Dalry
Road, Ardrossan in September 1988. During Jim's term of office, the Branch
also established three occupation centres, a workshop, two social clubs and
a holiday caravan in the service of mentally handicapped people.
Jim was a founder member of the local Don Bosco Guild of Catholic Teachers. He was a keen chess player at home and as part of the Ardrossan Chess Club. Jim was a talented musician and as a student played in a band to support himself. Later, he exercised this gift often at Saint John's School and Church. He was also the organist and choirmaster in the Church of Saint Peter in Chains from the late 1940s to the late 1960s.
Jim died on 1 March 1976. He and Daisy are buried in Ardrossan Cemetery.
The photograph above was taken in the late 1960s.