Former Edinburgh Lord Provost stuck in Cyprus for three months

FORMER Lord Provost Donald Wilson flew to Cyprus for a two week break in August - and he's still there.

Donald Wilson is serving constituents and chairing meetings from Cyprus
Donald Wilson is serving constituents and chairing meetings from Cyprus

A lack of flights back to Edinburgh has left him dealing with the problems of his constituents in Sighthill/Gorgie ward and chairing the council's culture and communities committee from his holiday home near Pathos.

His wife Elaine, who was with him, managed to get the last seat on a flight home last weekend. Councillor Wilson is booked to fly back to the UK on December 2 and is just hoping nothing happens to stop his return.

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"There is a long list of cancelled flights and a long tale of woe as to why I've not managed to get home," he said.

"It was only supposed to be a fortnight. Easyjet cancelled at least three flights; you book another one and then they cancel it. I moved to Jet2 and they cancelled that one without any alternatives.

"Elaine got the last seat out last Sunday on a flight to Edinburgh. She's on quite serious medication so she had to get home for that, but they only had one seat so she got it.

"Now there are no more direct flights to Edinburgh until February. I'm booked to fly December 2, but that's to Liverpool."

However, he says he is fulfilling all his duties as a councillor despite being more than 2,000 miles and two time zones away from Edinburgh.

"I can’t get home, but it’s not been a disaster because I have broadband and I've been able to work very well from here.

"I've absolutely done 100 per cent of the things I would have done had I been there.

"These are very unusual times and every single meeting has been virtual so I've missed absolutely nothing.

"I've got culture and communities today Tues, and full council on Thursday.

"There are no surgeries because you can't have face to face meetings and anyway the centres are closed, just as the City Chambers is closed.

"I've been doing constituency work - everything comes in through the email."

As culture and communities convener he has had to handle difficult issues around the re.opening of libraries and community centres as well as the Christmas and Hogmanay celebrations.

"There's a lot of meetings," he said. "I'm probably working harder if anything."

And Cyprus has tough measures in place to counter the spread of Covid.

"There has been a second wave here as well - all restaurants cafes and bars are shut; they have road barricades up and restricted movement between Limassol and Pathos; and there's an 8pm curfew, so it's even stricter than Scotland. Police are out in force, there's no-one on the streets at all and no traffic after 8pm, everybody has to be in their houses."

Cllr Wilson is hoping after his three month sojourn he can get home for Christmas.

He said: "There are a lot of Brits here in the same boat - and we're all booked on that December 2 flight. They haven't cancelled it yet, so fingers crossed."

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