Leuchie House Patrons

HRH, The Princess Royal

HRH The Princess Royal is our Patron and a frequent visitor to Leuchie House National Respite Centre. Through HRH’s conversations with guests, carers, volunteers and supporters we see first-hand HRH’s commitment and support of the work we do. Her insight and advice is inspiring to us all and drives us to continually find new ways to support carers and those for whom they care.

Gavin Hastings OBE

Former Captain of Scotland and British Lions Rugby, Gavin Hastings has been a patron of Leuchie House since 2015.

Gavin was educated at George Watson’s College before going on to study Land Economy at Cambridge University via Paisley College of Technology.

Throughout his rugby career he won 61 caps for Scotland, captaining the national team 20 times. He captained the British and Irish Lions during the 1993 tour to New Zealand. He was inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame in 2003.

After retiring from rugby, he set up a company specialising in sports marketing and event management. He is also much in demand as an after dinner and motivational speaker, and maintains his interest in rugby through regular television and other media work.

Gavin, whose wife Diane was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2003, has been a supporter of Leuchie House since he volunteered his services as host for Leuchie’s flagship fundraiser, the Ascot Gold Cup Tea, in 2014 and 2015. These events raised over £35,000 for the charity.

In taking on the role of patron in 2015, he said: “It’s a great privilege to have a role with such an outstanding charity. The Leuchie team offer a lifeline to many who are struggling to cope with the demands of living with long-term conditions. It is a welcoming, friendly environment for people who need a short break and I’m proud to help them continue this vital work.”

Mairi O'Keefe MBE

Mairi O’Keefe became a patron of Leuchie House on her retirement as the charity’s Chief Executive in December 2018.

Having originally trained as a nurse, she spent 25 years in various airport management roles including airlines, statutory authorities and predominately, BAA at Edinburgh Airport. This was followed by a period working freelance as a change management consultant in London, before joining the MS Society Scotland as Manager of Leuchie House in 2003.

In 2010 she successfully led the Save Leuchie campaign, saving the centre from closure and setting it up as an independent charity on 4 July 2011. During her seven years as Chief Executive of Leuchie House, she sat on cross-party groups at the Scottish Parliament, was a member of the Governing Council for Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce and was Vice Chair of the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland.

Mairi was awarded the title Community Champion of the Year in STV’s inaugural Finding Scotland’s Real Heroes awards in 2013. In 2015, she received an MBE for services to people with disabilities.