Two-and-a-half-years ago, The Courier officially joined the campaign to make Frank’s Law a reality and end the discrimination suffered by under-65s who require personal care.
Warm words and cold shoulders have been received from politicians during that time but yesterday’s events at Holyrood proved that what has been, and still is in some cases, seen as a hopeless cause is moving towards reality.
Amanda Kopel’s campaigning has seen her face up to two health secretaries, two first ministers and be called “inspirational” by the Prime Minister.
Almost every step of the way, from a moving first person account of what it was like looking after Frank, to piling pressure on politicians of all persuasions to come onside and see sense, The Courier has been on Amanda’s side.
For the coverage to be recognised through public votes to win the campaign award in the UK-wide Society of Editor’s Regional Press Awards 2016 showed the impact the collective effort was having.
It was also fantastic to see the rest of the media finally catch up as the bill was brought forward yesterday. Following the 2016 Scottish Parliament election, the arithmetic at Holyrood changed and the collective pressure started to pay off.
A majority of MSPs now support Frank’s Law, meaning Miles Briggs’ bill can be passed even if the SNP members fail to follow the footsteps of their very own Alex Neil, one of those health ministers Amanda has dealt with, and finally drag themselves on board.
Amanda said: “I have to thank The Courier for your massive support. It really has been brilliant.”
Mr Briggs added: “This is a culmination of a lot of hard work, not just from me but from lots of others, including The Courier. It is the work of Amanda and so many Frank’s Law campaigners over such a long period of time.
“But it now feels like we are starting to get somewhere.”
He is correct. Amanda has been the driver of the campaign. She is an incredible figure whose relentless pursuit of a policy change that can no longer help her but will benefit others has been nothing short of inspiring.
Behind her, a team of people like Mr Briggs; Kirriemuir’s Jonathen Smith, who travelled across continents to spread the word; Emilio Marmol Roman, whose celebrity chasing has secured big-name backing; and The Courier is working together to make her dream a reality.
Now we need one big final push.