HER name was Sharon.

She had stolen a silver cup from a church in Glasgow's South Side, and she was being chased on foot by the church's Father McKinnon.

She tried to evade him by weaving through traffic but she had reckoned without his old rugby-playing skills.

In Langside Drive, Father McKinnon rugby-tackled her and brought her crashing to the pavement. Soon, the police were on the scene.

Later, Sharon went into the pharmacy that Elizabeth Roddick then ran, to ask if she could be taken on to its methadone supervision programme.

And this was how she came to the attention of Elizabeth, who now runs the New Life Pharmacy in Clarkston Road, Netherlee.

As Elizabeth reveals in her new book, Call the Pharmacist, Sharon proved to be a model patient.

Her story slowly emerged - she had fled her native Manchester for Glasgow to escape her abusive dad.

When Sharon became pregnant, Elizabeth helped support her over the nine months.

Two weeks after giving birth at the Southern General, Sharon dropped in on the pharmacy with her new baby boy. Elizabeth hasn't seen her since - but she has never been able to forget her.

"It's my life, I suppose," she says when asked why she wrote the book.

"I feel as if I've been enriched my whole life by the work I've done. It's so rewarding, being a pharmacist."

Her father, Jimmy, was a pharmacist in Clarkston Road. After university, Elizabeth took over his premises, in 1982.

Eventually, she was running this business, as well as New Life, and she decided to sell the original business and focus her energies on New Life.

She has served as Scottish chairwoman of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, been presented with a leading industry ward for her work with GPs, and has received an award for her "outstanding" service to NHS patients.

She is also a qualified neuro-linguistic programming practitioner, has a fortnightly advice slot on the Royal National Institute of Blind People's Glasgow-based Insight Radio, and is an experienced public speaker. It has been a busy life.

Like other pharmacists, Elizabeth is irked by the lack of attention the media in general pays to the profession.

"It does make me annoyed," she says. "Why can't there be there a Call the Pharmacist series on television, for example?

"If you look at medical dramas on TV like Holby City, there's never a pharmacist in it," she says laughing. "And in their crime scenes there's often a rogue pharmacist somewhere... that's just unfair!"

"I just wanted to get the message out there that pharmacists do a lot of work and make a real contribution to the whole healthcare ethos.

"We work longer hours now and are open at weekends. People come to us all the time and ask for help. We can decide whether they need to see a doctor or whether it's a minor ailment that we could treat. We help to take some of the burden off over-worked GP surgeries.

"I heard the other day that there were two million prescriptions written for minor ailments in Scotland last year.

"That's two million visits to the doctor's that did not take place - that gives you an idea of how busy pharmacists are."

Elizabeth also raises, in her book, the question of vitamin D supplements.

SHE is not alone in believing that many Scots have vitamin D deficiency because of the relative lack of summer sunshine and the cloud-cover across Glasgow that the sun's rays cannot penetrate.

"The problem is that we don't have robust double-blind trials to determine whether vitamin D supplements can prevent or lessen the impact of such diseases as multiple sclerosis, cancer and osteoporosis, although more research is coming to light," she says.

"A lot of medics are sceptical. I'm working with a group to raise awareness of the issue and there is a lot of observational evidence to the effect that there is a lot more illness in countries where they don't get sufficient vitamin D naturally.

"I hold a vitamin D clinic in the pharmacy. I think that vitamin D testing and supplementing should be much more widespread than they are at the moment."

Elizabeth herself takes vitamin D supplements every day, though she does say that doctor's advice should be sought before anyone starts taking higher than recommended doses.

The conversation turns to the patients she has encountered on the methadone supervision programme.

"The fact that I lost some patients was a tragedy," she says. "One or two of them were really making a difference in their lives and were coming off methadone, but happened to get into bad company again.

"But the book also mentions a number of success stories, which were just fantastic.

"What really was good for me was being able to build a relationship with them, and seeing them every day. You really got involved with them.

"Because I think I managed to give them some respect, one or two responded to that, and that made a difference. I made them feel just like any other person who was coming in for medication - they were just like everyone else. They didn't have a stigma hanging over them."

l Call the Pharmacist is available from Amazon, Waterstones, from New Life Pharmacy (0141-637 6000) and from www.newlifehealthcare.co.uk