Leading Lothians wellbeing charity, Thistle, has been celebrating its 75th anniversary with a special community event hosted at the Thistle Centre of Wellbeing in Craigmillar. The event also marked the transition of leadership from CEO, Diana Noel-Paton to Mark Hoolahan, currently Deputy CEO.
Taking place on Friday, the diamond celebration event included a circus workshop, fairground games, pedal karts and a ‘Thistle’s Got Talent’ show featuring people supported by Thistle. More than 700 people from the local Craigmillar community attended over the course of the day and helped celebrate the charity’s landmark anniversary.
Prominent participants included local councillors and renowned local artist and designer of the Great Tapestry of Scotland, Andrew Crummy, who introduced visitors to his Craigmillar Tapestry project.
Friday’s community event also provided an opportunity to bid farewell to outgoing Thistle CEO Diana Noel-Paton who has retired after 24 years with the organisation. During her time at Thistle, Diana has led the organisation’s development into a leading provider of support for people living with disabilities or long-term health conditions so that they can live the life they want. Around 2,000 people came through the doors of the Centre of Wellbeing last year.
Commenting on the occasion, Diana Noel-Paton said:
“Over the past 24 years, it has been a huge privilege to work with the wonderful people we support, our dedicated volunteers and the talented team at Thistle. I have enjoyed my tenure here so much and it’s been wonderful to see so many people from our community enjoying the 75th anniversary celebrations.”
Commenting on the appointment of her successor, Diana added:
“Mark has already made a tremendous and positive contribution to Thistle and I wish him every success in his new role. Under his leadership, I am confident that Thistle will continue to go from strength to strength.”
New Thistle CEO Mark Hoolahan commented:
“This is an exciting time for Thistle. Demand for our services has never been stronger and we are grateful for the generous ongoing support of our volunteers, community and, donors. The 75th celebrations have given us the opportunity to celebrate our long track-record of pioneering support, look ahead to the future and have provided a fitting opportunity to bid farewell to our outgoing CEO, Diana Noel-Paton, who has given such invaluable leadership to Thistle. We all wish Diana the very best for the future”.
Thistle was founded by Sir Francis and Lady Tudsbery in 1944 to provide support to disabled ex-servicemen, enabling them to live at home with their families whilst receiving the skilled medical attention that was essential to their recovery and wellbeing.
Today, Thistle provides support for disabled people living independently in their own homes and as a charity supports people living with long-term health conditions such as MS, arthritis, depression, chronic fatigue or post-traumatic stress disorder. Offering support to people with long-term conditions living in Edinburgh and the Lothians, Thistle takes a ‘person-centred’ approach, meaning that the focus is on the person rather than their health condition or situation.
Located at the heart of the original Thistle village in Craigmillar, Thistle’s Centre of Wellbeing, a state-of-the-art building that hosts a range of health and wellbeing activities, was officially opened by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on the 14th June 2016.