New CEO for Leuchie as its founder retires

The North Berwick based charity and national respite centre, Leuchie House, has announced the retirement of its Chief Executive Mairi O’Keefe MBE after fifteen years at the helm.

Mairi has led the North Berwick based charity since 2003, when it was operated by the MS Society, and subsequently as an independent charity from 2011.

From a standing start in 2011, Leuchie House is now widely regarded as a centre for excellence in respite care, and has become a major employer in East Lothian.

In the past seven years Mairi and her team have been responsible for securing £4.5million in grants from trust funds and donations from generous members of the public as well as invaluable support from the Scottish Government. This has enabled the charity to deliver 33,457 respite nights since setting up as an independent charity. In 2017 Leuchie House supported people with more than 35 different conditions to benefit from short breaks with 24 hour care.

Confirming that she will be leaving Leuchie House in November Mairi O’Keefe said:

“Everyone who knows me knows how passionate I am about Leuchie House and the very special service we provide. It was always going to be difficult to step down, but I know I can do so feeling proud of everything we’ve achieved. I’ve been honoured to experience on a daily basis just how much of a difference Leuchie makes to all the hundreds of families we support every year.

“I would like to say a huge thank you to my team – staff and volunteers – for all their support and commitment. I will miss them, our guests, and everyone else involved with Leuchie very much”.

Sir David Tweedie, Chair of Leuchie House Trustees, said:

“In 2010 when Leuchie House was faced with closure, Mairi’s deep concern for those in need of respite and for their carers led her to launch the “Save Leuchie” campaign. By sheer force of personality she secured the support of Scottish and UK politicians, the media and the general public, generating sufficient backing to set Leuchie up as an independent charity. Mairi’s legacy is the happiness and relief she has brought to so many families by her dedication and compassion. The Board wishes her all the best in her well deserved retirement and looks forward to working with our magnificent staff team as we look to the future.

We are delighted that Mairi has agreed to continue her connection with Leuchie by joining Gavin Hastings as a Patron of Leuchie House.

We are very pleased to have secured the services of Mark Bevan as Mairi’s successor. Mark has held senior positions in both the care sector and in public policy and the Board looks forward to working with him as we all seek to build on the great legacy left by Mairi.”


Mairi was born in Edinburgh but her family roots are in the Outer Hebrides and much of her childhood was split between the two places. She originally trained as a nurse at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh before moving into a nursing role with British Airport Authority at Edinburgh Airport in 1978. She spent the next 25 years in various roles at the airport before working as a change management consultant in the City of London.

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. She sits on cross-party groups at the Scottish Parliament and is Vice Chair of the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland.

Mark Bevan began his career working in residential care. He went on to spend over a decade at Capability Scotland, rising to the post of Director of Operations where he led a staff team of over 1000 and ran registered care services including holiday and short break services throughout Scotland.

Mark moved on to develop further his understanding of public policy and corporate philanthropy in posts which have included Scotland Director for Amnesty International and MD of Business in the Community Scotland.

Most recently Mark was invited to lead the Scottish Council for Development and Industry to create and deliver a change programme. Having delivered a governance and staffing review and set the new strategy, Mark was determined to bring his diverse experience back to the care sector in which he has spent most of his career and to work in and with his local community.