A Coldstream doctor who gave financial support to set up the Patrick Wild Centre to further research into autism has left the Edinburgh facility a further £1m in his will.
Alfred Wild, who retired to live in Coldstream after working as a consultant radiologist in Scarbrough, provided funding for the Patrick Wild Centre, named in honour of his autistic brother, in Edinburgh.
He was also instrumental in bringing together staff from the centre and the Coldstream-based Meeting of Minds Group, made up of parents and guardians of children affected by autism and similar conditions.
After reading about the local group, Dr Wild got in touch with organiser Lauren Hamilton, who also lives in Coldstream, and offered to help.
When Meeting of Minds held its first public event in Coldstream Primary School last year Dr Wild arranged for staff from the Patrick Wild Centre to travel down to Coldstream and meet parents, children, friends and relatives.
After that initial event, Meeting of Minds organiser Lauren Hamilton said: “It looks to be the start of a beautiful friendship between us and the Patrick Wild Centre.”
The sentiment was shared by Andrew McKechanie, from the centre, who stressed that it needs parents and children willing to participate in the work done at the centre to carry out their work.
He said: “We have been humbled by our parents and our participants who have come to our studies, and they are coming wanting to help others in the future.”
The Patrick Wild Centre, opened in 2010, brings together experts from different areas of neuroscience research, to work with affected individuals and families to further understanding of autism, fragile X syndrome and intellectual disabilities and accelerate development of new therapeutic options for people affected.
In his will, Dr Wild, who died in Kelso Hospital in July last year aged 91, asked that the Patrick Wild Drake Trust be set up to administer the funds for “the promotion of knowledge, understanding and research into the field of autism”.
Lauren remembers Dr Wild fondly, and she said: “I was contacted to meet Dr Wild after he read about our support group in the local community news letter.
“Three members of the group went to meet Dr Wild in his home. He was very welcoming, enthusiastic and really keen to get us involved with the Patrick Wild Centre within Edinburgh University.
“Doctor Wild told us about his late brother Patrick and how family life was for them many years ago, when disability was often ignored.
“Dr Wild was insistent that he would set up a meeting with the doctors and professor that were running the centre.
“We were fortunate to welcome professor Sue Johnstone, Dr McKechanie and Dr Stanfield to our first MofM event. We reported back to Dr Wild, who was very keen to hear everything and keep the link going.”
Meeting of Minds chairman, Mid Berwickshire councillor John Greenwell added: “Dr Wild was so enthusiastic about the work we were doing supporting parents with children with complex needs that it gave us the inspiration to put more effort into engaging with parents not only in Berwickshire but also Kelso,
“We have strived over the last 18 months to carry out his advice to help parents at whatever stage their children might be at to make that daily struggle easier by sharing common problems.”