Ripping it up to start again at St Columba’s

Alison Allan and Paul McBurney with the hospice's weather vane

Alison Allan and Paul McBurney with the hospice's weather vane

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Demolition has begun at St Columba’s Hospice to clear the way for the building of its state-of-the-art replacement.

The 1970s blocks are being removed, to be replaced by modern two-storey wards.

The hospice’s £26 million rebuild scheme saw patients moved to Kirklands House in Gogarbank in February to allow work to get under way at the main site in Granton.

Amid the demolition, some of the building’s original features are being saved, with an iron weather vane, stained glass window, stone fountain and three Celtic stones due to be incorporated into the new design. The listed Challenger Lodge building will also remain.

As part of the Foundations Appeal, supporters of the hospice and those whose relatives have received care there are being given the chance to include personal messages in a memory box that will be buried in the foundations of the new development. The appeal has so far raised £158,000. Another £3.2m is still required.

The new hospice facilities will feature 18 single rooms with ensuite bathrooms, as well as four three-bedded wards. New facilities will also be created for the day hospice, complementary therapies and catering services.

Demolition is due for completion this week, with the rebuild continuing until early summer 2014.

Eight members of staff from Graham Construction, the firm building the new hospice, are part of a team which is due to complete the charity’s Celtic Challenge this weekend, a 200-mile fundraising bike ride from Edinburgh to Iona.

The company’s project manager, Paul McBurney, said: “You can’t help but get a good feeling about projects like this one. The service and care provided by St Columba’s is absolutely amazing and Graham Construction is incredibly proud to be leading the creation of this world-class hospice.

“I’m pretty sure none of the Graham guys currently making their way from Edinburgh to Skye have ever cycled 200 miles in five days before, but they’re all up for the challenge – it’s such a good cause.”

Alison Allan, St Columba’s Hospice project lead, said she was delighted that the Celtic Challenge team had included members of the Graham staff. “At the heart of the rebuild is our determination to provide the best possible care and support for patients and loved ones,” she said. “The fact the guys are prepared to get on their bikes and help raise the cash to make it happen is so heartening.”