Silverbuthall couple’s ramp battle victory

George and Linda Deeks.
George and Linda Deeks.

A Silverbuthall woman has won a two-year battle to have a ramp installed at her home for her disabled husband.

And Linda Deeks told the Hawick News that she’ll never be able to thank local councillors Watson McAteer and Stuart Marshall enough for the help and assistance they have given both herself and her husband George.

But she reserved criticism for Councillor Alastair Cranston, who initially took up the couple’s plight two years ago and who, according to Mrs Deeks, “did nothing for us”.

It two years since the plight of ex-military man George Deeks was brought to the attention of the public at a Hawick Community Council meeting.

Mr Deeks suffers a range of health problems and has a disability that severely limits his ability to negotiate stairs or walk long distances, resulting in him being a prisoner in his Silverbuthall home, relying on Linda or his family.

Councillor Cranston offered to help find a solution that would allow George to leave his home under his own steam.

On April 9, 2015, Councillor Cranston chaired a public meeting in the Havelock Street youth centre where it was reported that a council-driven project was likely to cost in excess of £35,000.

A number of charities, including military organisations, were contacted and some offers of support were made, but the project stalled.

In late September 2015, Councillors Marshall and McAteer were asked to take the job on.

Councillor Marshall stated: “Were contacted by Linda Deeks who was extremely frustrated at the lack of any real progress.

“We reviewed the original plans and following help from Scottish Borders Council and Scottish Borders Housing Association, we have at last found a solution to this problem.”

Councillor McAteer added: “Stuart and I met with council officers and explored a range of options. We reviewed wooden ramps and stairs currently being used in areas of Hawick, and we have been able to agree a new ramp design. This will permit all who live in this area and who have mobility problems access to Stirches Road.

“The structure will be maintained by the council and we have agreed to finance this from the Hawick and Denholm 2015/16 Quality of Life funds. The plans are now in place and it is hoped the ramp will be built and be in operation by early spring 2016.”

Speaking this week Mrs Deeks said: “Stuart and Watson have done a great job. We are delighted that this is set to become reality. It’s been a battle, but it’s now going to happen. It’s fantastic news.”

Councillor Cranston failed to respond to our request for comment.