Thanks to all our snow heroes!

By the time you read this, the last vestiges of snow should have completely disappeared and normal life resumed. But as I write, East Lothian is still dusting itself off after the most severe weather in years, so I hope you won’t mind if I use this column to say a heartfelt thank you to some incredible people.

Over the five days that conditions were at their worst, Leuchie House went through one of the most major operational challenges we’ve ever faced. Cut off for three days, then only accessible by specialist all-terrain vehicle for another two, the team effort required to continue providing the complex care our guests need, with only a skeleton staff, was enormous. The feats of commitment that took place over those five days were remarkable.

As a CEO there is nothing more satisfying than to realise that the people we recruit, lead, nurture and develop have grown into a high performing team.  I’ve never been more convinced that this is what we have at Leuchie, or more proud of my colleagues, than during those days.

While I would have expected no less of my team, knowing their dedication to Leuchie’s guests, I am equally humbled by the response of the local community.

I find it moving, reassuring and uplifting in equal measure that so many people without a specific connection to our charity went to astonishing levels to offer us their support. There was the local man who filled a rucksack with food supplies and did a two hour round trip across the snowbound fields by foot to deliver it. The farmers who toiled for hours in the cold and dark to clear roads, drop off essentials and rescue stranded cars and people. Those who fought their way through routes that had been declared impassable in order to ferry staff and supplies in and out. And those are just a few of the stories we know about. I’m conscious many others helped in ways that went unrecorded and unrecognised.

To every single one of you, thank you so much from everyone at Leuchie. It’s wonderful to know you were there for us.

Mairi O'Keefe, Chief Executive, Leuchie House. Published in The East Lothian Courier, 15 March 2018.