Disabled campaigner in Margo awards win

Lindsay Jarrett. Picture: comp
Lindsay Jarrett. Picture: comp
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A DISABLED campaigner who scaled the rockface at Edinburgh Castle in the dark with a tank of oxygen on her back to unfurl a Yes banner during the referendum has been named Indy Woman of the Year in the first “Margo” awards.

Lindsay Jarrett, a 43-year-old mother-of-five from the Highlands who has an incurable lung condition called Alpha-1, was in the Capital to see a consultant about a transplant on September 12 last year – just six days before the vote.

That night, with four litres of oxygen on continuous flow in her rucksack, she carried out her daring 200ft climb and tied the foil Yes sign to the rock.

Ms Jarrett, a former police inspector, was not able to attend the awards ceremony for the Margos – named in honour of independent Lothian MSP Margo MacDonald, who died last year, and established by Edinburgh Women for Independence to recognise the efforts of grassroots activists.

But her daughter Jemma was there to collect the award from Margo’s granddaughter Josephine.

Author Sara Sheridan, one of the award organisers, said: “Josephine presented the award and said Lindsay’s climb was very much in the spirit of Margo. Margo had Parkinson’s so, like Lindsay, her body had let her down but she was determined it would not stop her.”

At the time of the climb, Ms Jarrett posted pictures of herself online tightly gripping the rockface.

And she later described the experience: “Trains rumbled below me and I kept in tight to the rockface. As I got higher up I was able to clip my harness on to the mesh wiring to take rests. I took lots of rests. My main problem, apart from an inability to breathe, is that my heart rate rises to a ridiculous level, so I need to stop and let it settle before I go again.”

She said she had “panicked moments”, when she could not draw enough oxygen into her lungs and “the pain of my heart going at 200 beats a minute”. But she insisted it was worth it and she would “do it all again”.

The ceremony, held at the Serenity cafe off the Royal Mile, was a sell-out.

Other winners included sisters Sophie, far left, and Sarah Johnston, who were arrested the night after the referendum and held for 11 hours after they stood with a Saltire against a Loyalist mob in Glasgow’s George Square.

Ms Sheridan said it was planned to stage the awards again next year.

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com