By Michael MacLeod
A DISABLED pensioner was left heartbroken after missing her son’s wedding – because a lift was broken.
Charlotte Greig, 71, waited 20 years to see son David marry fiancée Helen at Dunfermline’s City Chambers.
But her dream turned into a nightmare when she was told the lift was broken and could only be fixed by an engineer from FRANCE.
The wheelchair-bound great-granny’s only alternative was to climb two flights of stairs, which she said would be impossible given her arthritis.
She said: “I was almost in tears and I’m still so upset and angry.
“You would think in this day and age they could provide for disabled people.
“It’s an absolute scandal that a man has to come over from France to fix a lift, when we’ve got thousands of people in Scotland crying out for jobs.
“Putting in a stairlift would be cheaper than paying the Frenchman’s expenses.”
Mrs Greig was stuck at the bottom of the stairs with a friend and the ceremony started before her family were able to find her.
As if to add insult to injury, Charlotte says the Chambers staff suggested she could find someone to carry her up the stairs.
She said: “They said I should find two burly men to carry me up, but by the time anyone noticed us sitting there the wedding had started.
“I said where’s the dignity in that, and where on earth does an old woman find two big burly men?
“I’m proud my son is now married, but it’s a disgusting excuse to deny his mother access to be at one of the proudest days of my life.”
Her new daughter-in-law, Helen, had visited the wedding venue three times in the week leading up to the big day to ensure everything was in place.
She was not told about the lift problems, and has been told that SHE should have told the council about the family’s disabled access requirements.
Mrs Greig added: “Disabled people shouldn’t have give a week’s notice before their arrival.
“I am speaking up for all the people with disabilities.
“If I hadn’t had someone there to comfort me I would have started crying.”
Sandra Birrell, the assistant registrar who officiated on the day said: “We did offer to help Mr and Mrs Greig’s guest up the stairs and delay the start of the service.
“I feel we did make every reasonable effort in the absence of a lift, to accommodate their guest’s needs.
“If the booking form had indicated that disabled access was required we could have notified the wedding party in advance that the lift was out of action which might have given them time to consider alternative arrangements.
“I understand how disappointing it must have been for the wedding party and hope that it didn’t detract too much from their celebrations.”
Mrs Greig says her “whole life” has been dedicated to equal rights for disabled people.
She volunteered at the Fife town’s Grange Centre for disabled people for 14-years before falling ill.
Despite having five strokes between them, she and husband Willie, 79, still live in their own home and try to live as independently as possible.
Mark and Helen’s wedding was arranged to fall on the same weekend as Mr and Mrs Greig’s 54th wedding anniversary.
She added: “Disabled rights are very close to my heart, I’ve felt that my whole life.
“The thing that gets me is that it’s illegal to not have disabled access, yet they were getting someone from France to fix it.
“How’s that showing urgency and caring towards us?
“People don’t seem to realise how difficult it still is as a disabled person.”
Fife council apologised for the lift debacle.
Their property services manager Sandy McLean said: “Unfortunately on Friday 19th September the lift was out of order for a period.
“We are very sorry that during this period a member of the public was unable to access a wedding on the upper floor.”