Charity boss quits in disabled parking space row

Geoff Pearson has quit his role after the row. Picture: Hemedia
Geoff Pearson has quit his role after the row. Picture: Hemedia
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A CHARITY boss who sparked a row after refusing to recognise the validity of a disabled parking space outside a primary school has quit his role.

Geoff Pearson left homelessness charity Streetwork yesterday – 24 hours after the News revealed eight-year-old pupil Keir Wallace often had to be carried to and from school in Portobello by his father when the bay was occupied.

Keir Wallace, who had to be carried to and from the school. Picture: Neil Hanna

Keir Wallace, who had to be carried to and from the school. Picture: Neil Hanna

Mr Pearson admitted that he regularly used the space and that he had lodged an objection against it with the city council.

Earlier this week, he said he was protesting against the disabled bay because the city council had used the wrong traffic order. Mr Pearson’s objection meant plans to make it an enforceable space could not be discussed by councillors until January.

It has now emerged that the secretary of the Northfield and Willowbrae community council has withdrawn his objection.

Kenny Forsyth, chief executive at Streetwork, said: “Geoff Pearson has tendered his letter of resignation as chair of Streetwork’s board of trustees. The board have reluctantly accepted.

“Geoff has served Streetwork for over three years and worked tirelessly on behalf of homeless people in Edinburgh.

“He has dedicated extensive personal effort to the charity and his achievements have been significant.

“Geoff regrets recent adverse publicity for himself and any effect it might have had upon Streetwork. He stresses that he fully supports the proper provision of services to all of those in need, including the disabled.

“Geoff wishes Streetwork every success for the future in its vital work with homeless people in Edinburgh.”

Keir suffers from a rare condition which can suddenly leave him in agony and unable to walk.

Mr Pearson claimed he could use the disabled bay outside St John’s Primary School in Hamilton Terrace because the council cannot fine anyone for parking there.

As a result, dad John Wallace has to carry Keir 100 yards or further to his car when his condition worsens.

Today, Mr Wallace, 60, said he wanted to raise awareness of the abuse of disabled spaces and insisted he took little pleasure from Mr Pearson’s resignation.

He said: “In one way I am happy but in another I’m sad. A man who has given so much has let himself down.

“Mr Pearson resigning is no victory to me and in a way I think it is a shame – it is no victory to anyone.”

The mature law student from Magdalene added: “My aim was to raise awareness about disabled parking spaces and I’m happy that they are being discussed all over the world now.”

Keir suffers from familial cold auto-inflammatory syndrome type 2 and is one of two people in the UK with the disease – the other is his mother.

The disease causes his auto-immune system to switch on irregularly and his body attacks itself.

This leaves him in severe to excruciating pain during outbreaks.