Tattoo joy for Leuchie guests

A real highlight of August at Leuchie House is being able to take groups of our guests to the Royal Military Tattoo in Edinburgh.

It has been several years since I was able to go so it was a real treat to join the Leuchie group at the first night of the 2018 season on 3 August.

To give you a sense of the impact a trip like this can have, I’d like to share the story of one of our guests.

He is 72, has advanced Parkinson’s and lives alone. With no family, the only people he sees are the carers who come in to tend to his personal care for 20 minutes four times daily. He spends every day alone in his house except when he comes to Leuchie for a break twice a year.

He has been looking forward to his trip to the Tattoo ever since he went last year. When I asked him afterwards how he’d found his return visit, he told me he’d absolutely loved it and had been in floods of tears through the performance because he found the whole experience so incredible and so moving.

Taking part last week was also a reminder of all that’s involved in getting six people with disabilities to and from Edinburgh Castle to see each show!

On the day, the team sets off for Edinburgh around 5.30pm in the Leuchie minibus and cars, with one member of staff accompanying each guest.

Our vehicles are met by the police on the Royal Mile, then after a security search, drive in convoy with a police escort up to the Esplanade. Quite the entrance!

Once wheelchairs are dismounted and everyone is in position it’s around 8pm, leaving an hour for people watching and soaking up the atmosphere before the show begins at 9pm.

Then it’s time for 90 minutes of some of the most spectacular performances you could hope to see, leaving everyone spellbound.

At 10.30pm, we repeat the exercise in reverse, returning to Leuchie around 1am with everyone exhausted but on a high after such a wonderful experience.

As you can imagine, for the Leuchie team, being involved in something so special is the ultimate in job satisfaction.

Mairi O'Keefe, Chief Executive, Leuchie House. Published in The East Lothian Courier, 16 August 2018.