Terminally ill man given home after year living in caravan

Drew McCartney, who has MND, was forced to live in a mobile home without running water or heating.

A terminally ill pensioner who was forced to live in a caravan for more than a year due to a lack of accessible housing has finally received a home.

Drew McCartney, who suffers from Motor Neurone Disease (MND), had spent 12 months living in a mobile home without running water or central heating.

He and his wife made the difficult decision to move into their holiday trailer in Castle Douglas during March last year after realising their Cumnock home was no longer safe for the 69-year-old to live in.

The couple planned to live there until an accessible home became available.

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However, it proved a long wait and they were forced to spend a year in the mobile home with no running water or central heating.

Mr McCartney has said receiving a new house has allowed him to gain some of his independence back.

He said: “I was quite amazed by the size of the house and it was just perfect for us.

“We’ve been a long time without a house so this is just absolutely perfect. All the family is here and all my friends are here.

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“It’s just so easy, makes life so much easier for me because my walking is really bad now, I can hardly stand now so I’m using my scooters all the time.

“There’s a small back garden so we’ve actually sent for new chairs so we can relax out the back. So that will be nice because it’s a right suntrap out there, will maybe have a barbecue now and then.”

He added: “This is us hopefully settled now and it makes me feel a lot better. Although I’ve still got the disease it perks me up. So hopefully I can get a lot more time out of it.”

“With this disease you’ve just got to take it day by day and that’s all you can do. It’s just a terrible disease, but I’ve got it.”

Now that Mr McCartney is back in his hometown of Cumnock, he’s closer to his support network which is a huge relief for his family.

Lynn McCartney, Drew’s daughter-in-law: “He’s really enjoyed being around family and friends again but for us the peace of mind that they’re literally just down the road and we can be there when needed at any time and provide the long term support that’s going to be required it’s just such a weight off our mind, it’s great.

“The past year has been quite a blur and I think we were always on edge, we were always waiting on that phone call or when they were having difficult days we were here and they were there. It was immense worry and immense stress and I think it’s just such a relief.”

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MND Scotland has warned Mr McCartney’s situation is not an isolated case and there is a lack of accessible housing right across the country.

A spokesperson said: “We would really like to see that become a priority but also we need a fairer system of allocating accessible properties when they do become available.

“We really need people with illnesses like MND to be prioritised because not only is the illness terminal, people become more and more disabled very very quickly.”


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