James McFarlane, known as Jim, was born in Mossblown, Ayrshire on 13 March 1910, the fourth of seven children. His parents were Harry McFarlane, a blacksmith in a colliery and his wife Annie McLaughlin. He attended Saint Anne's Primary School, Mossblown, Queen Margaret Academy, Ayr and Saint Aloysius College, Glasgow before graduating from Glasgow University in 1932.

At university, he met Margaret Patton, a fellow student from Lanarkshire. He married Margaret (1909-1994), known to the family as Daisy, on 17 July 1935 in the Church of Our Lady of Good Aid, Motherwell, later to become Motherwell Cathedral. They had nine children, namely Anne now Anne Halbert, Jim, Catherine now Catherine Smith, Tom, Henry, Charles, Theresa now Theresa Moreland, John and Matthew.

Jim became a teacher, his career starting in 1933 in Saint Mary's Advanced Division School, Saltcoats where he taught Mathematics, History and Music. The school then transferred to the Central School, Ardrossan which later became Saint Peter's School. In 1943, he was appointed Head Teacher of Saint John's Primary School, Stevenston, a post that he held until his retirement in 1972.

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.