Disabled man barred from Davidson’s Mains Gala

David Aris with his adapted tricycle. Picture: Ian Rutherford
David Aris with his adapted tricycle. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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A DISABLED man using a mobility trike was turfed out of a summer gala – over fears he would churn up the grass.

David Aris, who has cerebral palsy, had paid £2 to get into Davidson’s Mains Gala when he was told he would have to leave his vehicle at the gate.

The 30-year-old explained he needed the adapted trike – designed to strengthen his legs while making it easier to get around – as he cannot walk very far.

He was then asked to “provide proof” of his disability, or leave the equipment behind.

Mr Aris, who has suffered from the disability since birth, said he had no option but to leave the community event.

He said: “It made me feel terrible, like I wasn’t a normal person. They haven’t treated me the same as anyone else. It might look like a bike, but I explained what is for and they didn’t care.

“I had been looking forward to going but I had to turn around and go home.

“I don’t think it’s a fair way to be treated.”

Mr Aris, of Pennywell Road, Muirhouse, said the organisers explained there had been complaints after bikes were allowed into the event, held in the grounds of Lauriston Castle, last year.

He said an exception should have been made when it involved a mobility vehicle, which had been made for him before Christmas.

He said: “The man just said, ‘there’s no bikes allowed in here’.

“I explained it was my mobility tricycle and I needed it to get around but he just said I couldn’t bring it in.

“If I had been in a wheelchair they would have had to let me in but I use this as it helps my legs get stronger.

“I really feel like I’ve been discriminated against because I have a disability. It has really upset me.”

The annual gala, which includes the crowning of a king and queen, children’s races, a bird of prey demonstration and fancy dress competition, was held at the castle on Saturday.

Donald Loughray, former secretary of the gala committee, admitted asking Mr Aris to leave but said he was following council rules for the site.

He said there was a clear “no cycling and no dogs” policy and organisers had been fined £750 for ground damage last year.

He said: “We have had many rows in the past with the council for letting bikes in.

“I asked if he had any proof of his disability, but he didn’t.

“We don’t make up the policy but we have to abide by it. Last year, we had to pay the council £750 for grounds that were damaged so we have to be extra careful with what we do as it can’t get churned up or get ruts in it.

“The chap was offered to leave the bike [at the gate] but he refused and became rude and aggressive.”

However, a city council spokeswoman said the rules about bikes did not apply to someone using a mobility ­vehicle.

She said: “Council licensing regulations would not prohibit mobility vehicles of this type.”

Boycott of venue after ejections

A campaign to boycott venues owned by the G1 group following an incident where a disabled man was removed from Glasgow’s Polo Lounge by police has gained nearly 3000 supporters.

Robert Softley Gale, from Leith, claims bouncers at the popular gay venue, which is owned by G1, refused him entry last Thursday night on the grounds that he was in a wheelchair. The 33-year-old, who has cerebral palsy, says the bouncers then called the police and had him and his partner Nathan Gale, 28, removed after he attempted to demonstrate that he could move independently.

A Facebook group entitled ‘Polo Lounge refuses wheelchair user – BOYCOTT’, which now has nearly 3000 members, is urging punters to avoid all venues owned by G1 which has establishments in Edinburgh including The Ghillie Dhu, The Three Sisters and The Bank Hotel.