When Sally’s Jo met Paul

Captain Jo Moir, Salvation Army in Cumbernauld between 2008 and 2014 starring in documentary with TV star Paul O'Grady
Captain Jo Moir, Salvation Army in Cumbernauld between 2008 and 2014 starring in documentary with TV star Paul O'Grady

A former Cumbernauld Salvation Army leader who mentored popular TV presenter Paul O’Grady has spoken about her starring role in a six-part BBC documentary.

Captain Jo Moir, who lead the church and charity’s work in the town for six years, acted as a mentor to Paul as the pair embarked on a spititual journey that both say touched their lives.

Now, their experiences together have been been broadcast in the series Paul O’Grady: The Sally Army and Me which also uncovered the scope of the church’s work to help the country’s most vulnerable people.

Jo and husband Steve were leaders in the Cumbernauld church between 2008 and 2014 before being appointed to London’s William Booth Training College as tutors.

But now, local people have had a chance to see Jo in action again alongside a TV gem.

Jo said: “I regularly receive requests to engage in someone’s training but it was a little out of the ordinary when the person who needed training was Paul O’Grady and he was bringing a film crew with him!

“Although I had worked on a programme for BBC Alba (The Minister’s Wife), I was anxious. There is a significant cost in putting yourself ‘out there’, where you become susceptible to praise or criticism and, at first, I did not accept the request. But this changed when I heard Paul’s motivation for doing the programme.

“Paul didn’t want to make a programme about what we do and how we do it; he wanted to understand why we do it.

“Paul has a genuine, infectious enthusiasm for the Army rooted in his childhood love of the band, fostered in our support during his social work career and cemented during his encounters with us during the bleak days of the 80s’ Aids outbreak.

“Within a few hours – and after three cups of tea – I wanted to be more like Paul and show a new audience in the UK the grace-filled, Spirit-led, loving church he saw – the one we were raised up to be.

“As Paul and I spent more time together the off-camera chats moved from the mundane to the more significant. We talked about Heaven, Cilla, lifestyle and prayer. It was in those moments, without the lens in our faces, that I realised this was not only a programme about our movement but also an exploration of faith for both of us.”

The last episode of Paul O’Grady: The Sally Army and Me was broadcast last week but is available on BBC iPlayer.