Friday, 8 March 2002
West Lothain Courier
PROTESTERS battling to save care home Binny House fought to the bitter end last week.
Despite the snow and biting cold, around 80 people - including former staff members, residents, their families and politicians - marched with banners and placards to the Ecclesmachan home which closed its doors for the last time on Thursday.
Emotions were high with marchers still furious at Sue Ryder Care's decision to close the unique centre, which until last week, offered residential and respite care for young multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease or brain injury patients.
Emblazoned across one marcher's placard were the words "A dirty trick played on the young chronic sick." Elaine Hardie's mother, Esther, was one such patient. Elaine said: "The staff at Binny House offered an incredible level of service and it really is disgusting that it is closing.
"It was a very stressful time for all my family, especially my dad. I'm glad to be involved in this protest because it was disgraceful what Sue Ryder Care did." Jean Wishart said she was proud to take part in the march to show her support for Binny House staff. Her brother Alastair has multiple sclerosis and has now been moved to a home in Kirkintilloch.
"The staff at Binny House are tremendous and I would never hear a bad word said about them," she said.
"Geriatric care homes are no place for Alastair or people like him and Binny House was the ideal place for them. I think it is a tragedy because Binny House was home to so many people and staff treated them like family." Sue Ryder Care announced last year that it could not afford to keep Binny House open and also identified another home in the Borders for closure.
A rescue package for the Borders home was agreed with local authorities. However, despite drawn-out discussions with West Lothian Council, Lothian Health and other bodies the charity said Binny House would be axed.
This was despite an offer from the authorities involved of £680 per resident per week with an additional £50 for patients receiving palliative care. They also agreed to underwrite 50 per cent of the centre's debt for two years.
Many of the politicians who fought to save the home were at the march, as was union leader Eddie Egan.
Mr Egan said: "It really is a sad day today and I would like to thank everybody who has been involved in the fight to save Binny House. It has been a great effort." Also braving the cold on the walk from the Sue Ryder charity shop in Uphall to Binny House was council leader Graeme Morrice.
He said: "This protest has tremendous significance because
it is an indication of the support of the local community for residents
and staff and of their opposition to the charity's decision to close the
"It is a huge loss, not just to West Lothian, but to the whole of Central Scotland."
WALK on by....Protesters marched from Uphall to Binny
House in Ecclesmachan on the day the care centre closed.
Copyright (c) 2002, West Lothain Courier