RELIEF... but fight to ‘Save Thackeray’ goes on

There was relief at the news from Health Minister Edwin Poots on Friday where families whose loved ones call ‘Thackeray Place’ their home.

Within hours of the ‘Journal’ breaking the news on Tuesday, staff, residents, their families and local councillors mobilised a campaign to ‘Save Thackeray’.

They are all too aware the threat of closure isn’t completely gone, but describe the news announced as “fantastic”.

No one is more happy than 85-year-old Peggy Heaney. Leading the way on behalf of residents, Peggy - who joined workers protesting during the week - spoke of her relief.

“Somebody had to speak for the residents,” she said. “I am more than happy about the news, surely to God, but we still have to fight on. We can’t stop now because we don’t know what’s in front of us. I wasn’t hopeful until I heard what Mr. Poots had to say this evening, but now I am hopeful we can win this, so that’s why we need to fight on.”

Peggy’s grandson, Aaron said he rushed to see his grandma on Friday as soon as he heard the announcement.

“It’s definitely better news than we had at the start of the week, and it has put a smile on people’s faces,” said Aaron, “but we have to keep the fight going.”

Workers also feel some relief, and are happy Minister Poots has taken control of the situation.

“We still have to keep fighting until we get the news we are staying open,” one worker told the ‘Journal’.

Other familes are optimistic for Thackeray’s future.

“It’s just great,” said Liz McPeak, whose mum Aeileen Hunter, aged 83, lives at Thackeray.

As soon as she heard the news, she rushed to see her mum, and was greeted with great relief among residents and staff.

“The fight will still go on, and we won’t stop now to just see what happens. It’s hard to believe, but we just hope it all works out,” said Liz. “The support has been brilliant in Limavady from the staff, residents, all the families and local politicians. Everyone has been brilliant. We think Thackeray is in a strong position and we are hopeful. It’s fantastic.”

Josie McCann’s mum, Letty is 99 and a resident of Thackeray.

“I was delighted to hear the news,” she told the ‘Journal’. “Mr. Poots definitely put on his listening ears, and there is no doubt people power made a difference. The Western Trust handled the situation very badly, and this news today has lifted a fair bit of the cloud off us, but the fight continues.”