John Finlay

John Finlay has been coming to the Linburn Centre since it opened and thinks of it as a lifeline. Here he says, in his own words, what makes the centre so special.

“I joined in March 2011 when the Centre first. I am the domino champion. I do quite a lot of projects and do a lot of woodwork and some IT. There are so many things to choose from. The staff are brilliant.

I have been coming here for so long I feel I have done so much that I now let others have a go. I have done gliding three or four times. There’s a lot for you here, but I think I have done so much and it is time for others to enjoy the experiences.

I am only 60. This is not an old people’s centre, it’s for everyone young and old. There is a lot of companionship here and a lot of friendships are made. I am the one with the big mouth so don’t mind speaking up. I am part of the liaison committee and we meet every month. I have been here so long I am in with the bricks, so it is good to help out and give something back.

I am diabetic, which led to my eyesight deteriorating. I was a radio operator in the Royal Navy between March 1974 and December 1979, but was disabled out. I lost both kneecaps and ended up in a wheelchair in 2000, but that doesn’t hinder me.

I have my ex-wife, who is my best pal, and my daughter and granddaughter close by me in Dalkeith, which is great. I get collected and brought back to the Linburn Centre every time I come, which is brilliant.

I love coming to the Linburn Centre, I come three times a week and it is definitely a lifeline. I was an alcoholic, and I think my visits to the centre keep me from going back to drink.

I am friends with everyone here, the staff are all fantastic. It is just like home here now. Everyone comes to me for a game of dominoes. It is just what I need.”