A GOUROCK man has been appointed as the chief executive of a national charity.

Alistair Haw takes on the position at the Scottish Huntington Association, after five years as national care framework leader.

Mr Haw has been at the forefront of looking at ways to improve the lives of families impacted by Huntington's disease, a progressive brain disorder caused by a defective gene which affects movement, mood and thinking skills.

Alistair said: "It has been an honour to have worked for SHA for the past five years - meeting and working with HD families, seeking to understand the challenges they face and fighting for solutions, both with them and on their behalf.

"I am hugely grateful to the board for putting its faith in me to lead the charity and look forward to working with it, our amazing staff, and inspirational HD family members and supporters as we move forward together to ensure everyone in our community has access to the specialised care and support they need.”

Mr Haw is a former pupil of Gourock Primary and Gourock High School.

He is a former junior captain Gourock Golf Club and a former captain of Inverclyde Cricket Club.

He played football for Gourock YAC and is a Morton supporter.

Although he no longer lives in the town, he still has family and friends here.

Mr Haw led the development of the world's first national care framework for Huntington's Disease.

It has been implemented by NHS boards and health and social care partnerships throughout the country and attracted international attention from the USA, Norway, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland.

Prior to joining SHA Alistair worked as a political and media advisor at both the UK and Scottish parliaments and led award-winning teams at Prostate Cancer UK.

He takes over from John Eden who has retired after serving eleven years in the post.

Catherine Martin, chair of the board of trustees at Scottish Huntington’s Association, said: “Many of our families know Alistair through his work to develop the national care framework, which has been a huge success for the HD community in Scotland.

"During a full external recruitment process the board was greatly excited by the vision Alistair set out for the future of the charity, and we look forward to working with him and all staff and supporters on this in the years ahead.”

Scottish Huntington’s Association is the only charity in Scotland exclusively dedicated to supporting the HD community.

This support provides a lifeline for families impacted by Huntington’s and its complex symptoms, which include mental illness and declining control over movement and thinking processes.

Over time the incurable disease can rob people of the ability to walk, talk, eat, drink, make rational decision and care for themselves.

The dreadful toll on families is compounded by the reality that each child of a parent with Huntington’s disease is at 50 per cent risk of inheriting the condition.

Many young people therefore grow up seeing the disease alter their parent’s personality and impact their physical and mental health, while knowing that they too may go on to develop symptoms.