A RETIRED doctor from Helensburgh says he hopes his new book will boost Scottish children's knowledge of, and pride in, the country's greatest achievements.

Krishna Goel's book, 'Some Great Scots', was written partly out of his passion for sharing knowledge, and partly to raise funds for the Children's Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS), of which he's a founding director.

But it's clear on speaking to him that the book also reflects his love for the country which he's called home since he flew from his birthplace in India to the old Abbotsinch Airport more than half a century ago.

Dr Goel, who spent almost 40 years working at the old Yorkhill Hospital as a consultant paediatrician, and describes himself as a 'naturalised Scot', has now completed three books since retiring from medicine ten years ago.

“I believe strongly that if we have knowledge we should share it with others in all corners of the globe,” he told the Advertiser.

“And Scotland has such great talent.

“I asked people across the social backgrounds to name ten great or famous Scots, and they couldn't give me a double digit figure. But Scottish people are very passionate.

“A school teacher told me once that schools don't teach about famous or talented Scots. But how can you put pride in the hearts of our children if they don't know their Scottish heritage?”

'Some Great Scots', features not one but two forewords - one from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the other written by Sir Kenneth Calman, who was Scotland's chief medical officer for two years and then held the same post for England and Wales for a further six.

The book is divided into six sections and, in total, lists the achievement of an eclectic choice of more than four hundred notable Scots, from politicians to poets and from inventors to sportspeople.

Which leads to one very straightforward question: how to decide which Scots made it in to the book, and which ones didn't?

“There's no easy answer to that,” Dr Goel replied.

“I decided on people who have contributed, big or little, in some way to Scotland and the world.

“I've chronicled some of Scotland's very, very rich heritage, and I'm quite pleased with it.

“But this is not a scholarly study of great Scots. I wanted something handy, that people could flick through or put in their handbag, and if I included more people in it, it might have become too heavy.

“But people have already written to me and said 'you've left out so-and-so', so perhaps there might be another volume one day.”

Sections of the book are devoted to some of Scotland's greatest artists, the little-known lives of six Scottish women who served in Serbia during the First World War, and 13 of Scotland's great plant hunters.

That last section reflects Dr Goel's own enthusiasm for plants and horticulture – a subject covered in one of his previous books, published in 2015 and describing the medicinal properties of the 120 plants listed in the Bible.

But it's clear both from reading Dr Goel's book and talking to him that two of his greatest passions are Scotland and children.

“My loyalties lie with Scotland,” he said. “My heart is here.

“I came here with nothing in my pocket, and Scotland gave me everything.

“You know, we fly over so many different countries, but underneath us the earth is all the same, and all of us are exactly the same under the skin."

And even though children's medicine in the west of Scotland has now relocated to the opposite side of the Clyde, moving from the old Yorkhill site to the new Royal Hospital for Children, which opened in June 2015, Yorkhill itself will always have a special place in Dr Goel's heart.

“I got all the qualifications in paediatrics which I could get in India, and couldn't do anything more," he said.

“Then I read a book which had been written by a professional from Yorkhill, and I was so impressed I wrote an aerogramme to the hospital.

“It had no CV, no referee or anything, but they sent me an appointment letter – and when I arrived at the old Abbotsinch airport, they'd sent a car. For me!

“They even gave me cash the following day, deducted from my salary, because I'd arrived in Scotland with nothing – I travelled to the UK with £3 in my pocket, and that was all spent on my accommodation in London.

“What a reception I received. I thought it was paradise.

“It was hard work at Yorkhill, but I enjoyed it – it was like a family to me.

“A child would come to me all peely-wally and I loved the first smile he would give me after I treated him. You can't buy that."